Tom Bissell praises iPad gaming:
[A] really fine iPad game offers an experience in which many of the impurities of console gaming are boiled away. Many of these pure games – less grandly known as "gamey games" – have little of the narrative ambition (or, to put it less kindly, bloat) typical to console games and, as a consequence, don't bother trying to push the same emo-cognitive buttons. They get in your head, to be sure, but through different passageways.
Another way of saying this is that console games do everything in their power to form a relationship with you, which can be great and rewarding and, just as often, aggravating and tedious. iPad games, on the other hand, are like someone you meet in a bar and find yourself screwing in the bathroom 10 minutes later. This is not a criticism.
On Angry Birds:
Angry Birds is, of course, a puzzler (also a torment machine), and like all great puzzlers it mixes an unexpected conceit with a pleasing aesthetic world and complicates simple goals with the friction force of straightforward physical laws. Anyone who maintains that video games make you dumber could stand to play a couple of good puzzlers. Whether the form of intelligence exercised and strengthened by puzzlers has any practical application outside of playing puzzlers is another question. Until I find myself in a situation that requires slingshotting large objects at fixed positions, I withhold judgment.
(Image: From a collection of superhero mashups)