New York: These are chicks you don't want to mess with. The wildly popular app Angry Birds, in which feathered fowls are hurled by gamers, has a new spinoff called Angry Brides, which involves a woman pelting her weapon of choice at dodging grooms. A slipper, broom, saucepan, is some of the ammunition players wield as they cross the game's levels.
Started by a prominent matchmaking agency in India called shaadi.com, the new Facebook game takes a shot at the practice of dowry - money and gifts demanded by the groom from the bride's family. In India, if the dowry isn't opulent enough, women are sometimes tortured and even killed.
Although the custom has been outlawed in India for the past five decades, the number of dowry deaths being reported is on the rise. The number was 8,383 in 2009, up from 7,618 three years earlier, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
"The problem is humongous. We wanted to communicate our stand strongly against this," said Ram Bhamidi, senior vice president and head of online marketing for Shaadi.com. He notes that as a brand responsible for matchmaking, the company wanted to create awareness about the issue of dowry.
"We thought 'let's try and do something different this time.' We wanted to be a little innovative and combine a social cause with gaming on social media," shares Bhamidi, adding, "We chose social media to do this because it had the potential to grow viral."
Although Angry Brides was originally meant to be used only on Facebook, Bhamidi said they're considering expanding to other channels because of the encouraging response they've received: 8,000 installations of the game when it was launched last Wednesday; 30,000 installations as of Tuesday.
Bhamidi said the game wasn't just created to attract customers but to also reach out to people who could support their cause.
"We're not doing this just to acquire more customers but also to engage with them," he said.
In Angry Brides, players strike the grooms who come with a heavy dowry price tag. Each hit decreases the price of the groom and adds money to the player's anti-dowry fund, the amount of which the game creators encourage users to publish on their Facebook wall or Twitter timeline.