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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Angry Birds, Fruit Ninjas, and Kindle - Oh My! - 2011 Technology Moment

If one were to go to a movie theatre in May 2016, you really might think that what was massively popular five years ago has come back to become popular today.

It was just a few days ago that "The Angry Birds Movie" was released in theatres, and it made me think back five years ago when that mobile game was blowing up everybody's phones!

Well...everyone's except mine.  In 2011, I didn't have one.

But it's easy to see how Angry Birds became so popular.  It starts off quite simple enough, with you shooting red, black, white, and yellow birds at a group of evil green piggies who have built their homes on a variety of different terrains from grassland to outer space!  The further you make it into the game, the harder it becomes.  And once you reach that point, you have to make the choice of continuing on with the game, or throwing your phone at a bird feeder.

But it got me thinking...if Angry Birds was a hot app for the year 2011...what other things were people doing on their phones?  Well, aside from texting, calling, and taking selfies for MySpace. 

Or, was MySpace still a thing in 2011?  I'm thinking not.

Anyway, here's what some of you might have been doing with your mobile devices five years ago.  


Basically, there's really nothing all that different about this game.  It's essentially the game of "Scrabble" on social media.  But what made Words With Friends so much fun was the fact that you could challenge your Facebook friends to a game or two or thirty to a classic game of words.  The best part about this app was that you no longer needed to have Webster's Dictionary with you at all times.  If you tried to enter in a word that was slang, offensive, or not a word, the computer would let you know!

I imagine some people still play this game today, though nothing can ever really simulate the fights that can erupt at the kitchen table because your perfect word was spoiled by someone else who played their TRIPLE WORD SCORE word in the very spot you wanted.


First appearing for the iPhone in April 2010, by 2011, it had grown to be one of the most downloaded mobile games of the year.  And, I'm sure that at some point, everyone has played this game at least once.  I know I tried the game on a friend's mobile phone, and I liked it - even though I sucked horribly at it.

But look at Fruit Ninja as being able to achieve a dream.  Have you ever wanted to be like one of those Ninja swordsmen who really wanted to slice a watermelon, grapefruit, or honeydew melon in half but you weren't allowed to because you'd either make a mess in the kitchen or accidentally decapitate your grandmother?  This app allows you to live out your dream mess free and without the fear of going to prison for accidental murder!

And, one final positive about this game?  It is used in hospitals and care facilities as an aid to help with the recovery of stroke patients!


I have to say that of all the apps listed here, this one is my absolute favourite.  I didn't discover this game until maybe about a year after it was released.  I was actually gifted the Nintendo DS version right around my 30th birthday - which took place in 2011!

There is something to be said about zombies threatening to take over the world, and your only line of defense are sunflowers, pea shooters, and mushrooms.  Especially when those plants are souped up to survive almost any attack from the undead.  This is the ultimate strategy game where you have to use your brains - no pun intended - to stop the zombies in their tracks.  It's not so much choosing what plants to use as much as placing them in exactly the right spots.  Because as the game gets harder, the zombies come at you more frequently and quickly, leaving you with little precious time to make decisions.

This game is still very popular five years later.  A sequel was released in the summer of 2013.


Remember those days prior to 2011 where the only way to read an electronic book was with a little tablet like device known as a Kindle?  In some cases, the Kindles were no bigger than the average mobile phone, but if you had one, you could get access to almost 800,000 book titles.  The Kindle's surge in popularity certainly made it more appealing to read books online, and it's success more than likely caused some brick and mortar bookstores to go out of business.

These days, it's very hard to find a Kindle in an electronics store.  I don't even know if people are even still using them.  That's because right around 2011, Android and iPhone users could simply download the Kindle app onto their smartphones or mobile devices and access the library there.


Who knew that when this simple photo app was introduced in late 2010 that it would change the way we look at digital imagery in 2011 and years to come?

Before the advent of Instagram, if you wanted your photos to have a specific look - vintage, black or white, etc. - you had to go to a photo lab and pay big bucks to get the desired effects you wanted.  But with the addition of Instagram, users could simply take photos with their phones, and put them through filters that allowed the photos to be displayed however the user wanted.  And once you were finished making your photos the best they could possibly look, you could use the same app to share the photos with anybody your Instagram account was linked with.  It certainly made photo sharing easier, and as Instagram developed further, it made it allowable for people to plug their phones into photo kiosks and print their photos via the Instagram app.  Though, to be fair, you can also do the same with Twitter and Facebook.

I don't know if you can do it with Snapchat.  I never use it.

So, those are just five apps that changed the way we looked at our phones five years ago.  What apps were on your phones in 2011?

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