There were 2,600 participants, five Angry Birds, and, in the end, one steady-handed 19-year-old champion of them all.
Nokia recently held an Angry Birds championship in downtown Helsinki to determine who was the best finch flinger in all of Finland. The competition was tough, and only the top 32 players were present after regional tournaments singled out the best of the best. After all, 2,600 people from across the Nordic country had tried out--like a geeky version of "American Idol"--to see if they had what it takes to be crowned the champion of the game.
One finalist was only 6 years old, and relied on his father's smartphone to keep his skills fresh.
The stakes were high, and gamers were naturally allured by the entitlement of being the best player of a game that has sold millions of copies across various platforms around the world. The grand prize, aside from a shiny plaque honoring the champ like a title belt, was a Nokia N8 and a trip for two to Hollywood. Hot and sunny California is a mighty attractive destination for someone who lives in a land that often has short summers and snow-filled winters.
Competitors faced off by playing four levels in a row, and whoever had the most points at the end advanced to the next segment of the competition. In the end, 19-year-old Jonas Koivula won, flying past others in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the final round as a large crowd cheered him on. When the winner was crowned, over a hundred green pig plush toys dropped on the crowd like confetti on New Year's Eve.
Nokia's official blog revealed that Koivula studied for school by day and played Angry Birds at night, and spent two months practicing for the finals.
I'd love to see how you practice for a video game championship. Push-ups? Ginkgo biloba? Finger exercises?