Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past couple of years, Angry Birds has become one of the most popular video games in history.  It’s been downloaded more than 2 billion times, so much so that Rovio, the game’s creator, went from relative obscurity to talks of going public in a few short years.

The concept of the game is that the “angry birds” are seeking revenge against the green pigs who have stolen the birds’ eggs. The birds use their unique destructive powers to destroy the pigs’ fortified castles and re-capture their eggs.  If you have never played it, this may sound completely ridiculous, but rest assured it’s witty, fun and can provide hours of entertainment.

So what can Angry Birds teach you about a private investigator?  Here are some overlapping principles between the game and the investigation profession:

1Don’t use the wrong bird for the wrong job

Each “angry bird” has its own unique destructive power to destroy the pigs’ fortified castles.   Yellow birds can cut through things with precision and accuracy, blue birds can shatter glass and the black birds use their explosive power to blow things up.  However, using the wrong bird for the wrong job can be a complete waste of time.

Professional Investigators have their own unique talents and specialties, but using the wrong investigator for the wrong task can doom a case from the start.

2There are different ways to knock down a fortress

In the game, there are many different ways to pass each level, using the various birds to destroy the pigs’ castle and move on to the next level. There is not one way to do it – no “right way”, no “wrong way.” There are just different approaches which often take multiple attempts to perfect a strategy and knock down the castle.

In comparison, there are several investigative techniques that a private investigator can use to achieve a particular objective, utilizing what we call “human” intelligence, open sources or public documents.  Some techniques can be more efficient than others and in some cases you have to try multiple techniques to achieve your objective. The point here is that there are many ways to skin a cat (or in this case pigs).

3“Three Stars” is the goal, but not always attainable

When you pass a level in Angry Birds, you get one, two or three stars depending on the amount of points accumulated.  A three star is like hitting a home run in baseball; it’s the perfect outcome.  Sometimes you pass the level on the first shot, but in other cases, it takes numerous  attempts to pass a level and even more attempts and effort to get three stars.

For a private investigator, we would love to get that “three stars” or get that proverbial “smoking gun” which could ultimately break the case open.  In a perfect situation, the most valuable information can be obtained early in the case, other times it can takes months of investigation.  As with anything though, the proverbial “smoking gun” doesn’t always exist.

Final Thought

It’s not often when a video game can be reflective of anything outside of pure entertainment, but in this case fans of Angry Birds can better appreciate some of the nuances of a private investigator.

Your turn. What do you think? Any other things that Angry Birds can teach you?  Let us know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Rovio.

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