Angry birds peace treaty by Eretz Nehederet
A few years ago I became interested in the question of whather new versions of the computer game “Angry Birds” gradually makes it easier to get high scores. Devoted to the idea of Internet research activity I decided to explore this question on “ARQADE” a Q/A site for video games. I was especially encouraged by the success of an earlier question that was posted there by Andreas Bonini: Is Angry Birds deterministic? As you can see Bonini’s question got 239 upvotes making it the second most popular quastion in the site’s history. (The answer with 322 upvotes may well be the most popular answer!) Is Angry Birds deterministic? (Click on pictures to enlarge.)
Arqade’s top questions
Some comments to the answer regarding Angry Birds.
The question if Angry Birds is deterministic is the second most decorated question on Arqade, and its answers were extremely popular as well. (Other decorated questions include: How can I tell if a corpse is safe to eat? How can I kill adorable animals? and My head keeps falling off. What can I do?.) As you can see from the comments taken from the site referring to science was warmly accepted!
I decided to ask a similar question about new versions and hoped for a similar success. Oh well! After about a week taken to have my pride healed, I thought that perhaps a more detailed question sticking more to the factual matter would be more welcome. Indeed this version was slightly better accepted. But still it was not welcome at all.
I had better luck in the sister site “Game Development”. (Here is the link.)
Can my conjecture be tested without asking the manufacturer?
One critique to my question was the assertion that the only way to know the answer is to ask the manufacturer. I beg to disagree. The heuristic that (especially for simple rounds where all you have to do is to hit in one direction) one can expect that the number of records broken will be logarithmic in the number of trials seems pretty strong. (Here is a recent related post by Tim Gowers.) And there should be more elaborate ways to put my hypothesis to the test. Here is an interesting related post “Rigged Lottery, Bible Codes, and Spinning Globes: What Would Kolmogorov Say?” by Omer Reingold.
Why were the Arqade users so hostile to my question?
This is still a bit of a mystery.
Back in the time that Angry Birds was in the height of its popularity and my skeptical interest and activity regarding it were most intensive, something very unusal happened. While I was walking from my home in Bet Hakerem to the department I heard a sharp voice, and a big red bird just landed one meter away from me. Was this a coincidence or a warning of some sort?
Here is some more discussion at Doron Zeilberger’s experimental mathematics seminar: