by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

The core mistake people are making is misreading what happens when the pigs and birds disappear into little poofy clouds. Why should people interpret that as death? In real life, people's bodies don't disappear when they die. Why should disappearance necessarily Screen shot 2011-01-24 at 6.46.52 PMimply death in video games?

Video games' convention of disappearing bodies doesn't signify death. It signifies defeat. Certainly, this defeat may come with death, but not necessarily. Defeat can come just as easily by being rendered unconscious or otherwise disabled.  It's inefficient for game Screen shot 2011-01-24 at 6.47.08 PMdesigners to devote resources to rendering objects that are no longer relevant to gameplay. 

It would be ambiguous in the case of Angry Birds if the narrative context didn't clarify things by providing animations at the close of its chapters. In these, we see the reappeared pigs lying bruised, beaten, and bandaged at the feet of their avian vanquishers. The pigs are defeated, dispirited, but not dead.

Well the black round birds, which explode like suicide bombers, certainly die.

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