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April 19, 2011

Angry Birds Magic hatches at WIMA

What could be better than Angry Birds? Well, one answer is Angry Birds with friends, and that’s the aim of the latest release from Rovio, previewing at this week’s WIMA conference – the calendar’s leading event for all things NFC (Near field Communications). So how does it work? Find out more below.

How about a game that positively encourages you to seek out strangers and talk to them? Angry Birds Free with Magic – launching at WIMA – contains twenty levels of the traditional pig-pelting action. But you can’t do it all on your own.

Five of the levels are as normal. But at that point you need to find a friend with an NFC-enabled phone, as the remaining levels are inter-spliced with ones that can only be unlocked when you touch phones with someone else. Finding one friend will unlock five more levels. A second friend will unlock another five, and a third the remaining five.

There’s also a second way to unlock levels: through using NFC tags – which might be embedded in any item or object. We understand clues as to their locations will be forthcoming…

“With Angry Birds Magic, friends can group together to combat the pig menace, in a new take on the game that so many people all over the world have fallen love with,” said Mikael Hed from Rovio. “This is an exclusive offering with the Nokia C7, a smartphone that really kicks off the NFC experience for developers. In time, the communal power of users with Angry Birds Magic could prove even stronger than the Mighty Eagle.”

Angry Birds Free with Magic will come preinstalled on the Nokia C7 as part of the Symbian Anna update. It will also be included on all of Nokia’s NFC-enabled devices in 2011. Meanwhile, the Rovio programmers are hard at work creating a full version of Magic – to be made available through Ovi Store – that will have more levels and more ways to harness the power of NFC.

Nokia’s Bryan Biniak, head of Ovi Publish, told us: “Angry Birds Magic is a great demonstration of NFC technology and we’re delighted to have it exclusive to Nokia. It represents an exciting opportunity for developers to create new, innovative apps and games.”

Angry Birds Magic is a taste of one possible future for mobile gaming – one that’s more sociable and connected than the present. And that’s got to be a good thing.

How would you like to see NFC enabled in future games?