Thursday, July 12, 2007

Finding Inner Peace in an Aquarium

I am well-aware that there are many people who would recoil in horror if I were to suggest that they become involved in a video game. (My own mother is one of them!) Now, however, I have found a game that must appeal to any one who loves beauty in nature. That game is 'Fish Tycoon'.

The title in fact is rather misleading. It isn't about getting rich by raising or selling fish. It actually is a virtual aquarium and the only reason to sell fish and make money would be in order to purchase upgrades for the aquarium, enabling one to breed more fragile fish.

The game operates according to a 'real-time engine' which means essentially that it truly is a virtual aquarium. Even when you turn off your computer, your fish will continue to grow and experience the passage of time. You can alter the Game Speed to Half-Time (when you are away) or Double-Time (when you are very excited about seeing the results of breeding two fish from different species).

For those of us who love fish but either do not have the space or money to keep a sophisticated aquarium at present, this game is a fabulous substitute. There are over 400 different varieties of fish and some are hardier than others. Some are worth far more than others as well. You can play the game at your own speed. As long as you continue to feed your fish and watch them for signs of disease, you can maintain the aquarium indefinitely. The real fun for me is in discovering new varieties of fish through breeding.

I tend to respond to beauty and there are some breathtakingly beautiful fish in this game, but for those who prefer strange and exotic, even ugly fish, there are quite a few of those as well.

To give players a little extra challenge, there are seven 'Magical Fish'. You discover these only by breeding different species and varieties. The 'magical' properties of these fish are not that spectacular, but they do enhance health, fertility and so on when they are present in your tank.

When one is typing a rather boring or dreary list of figures or performing another rather uninspiring task on the computer, it gives one joy to be able to watch exotic and beautiful fish swimming to and fro in their tank in a corner of the desktop. The aquarium even can operate as a focus for meditation. It is quite realistic!

With an option to purchase a second tank and a maximum capacity of twenty fish in each tank, one can sustain two different permanent 'eco-systems' as well as transferring fish to the selling tank whenever one tires of them or space is needed to create a new hybrid.

As stated previously, one can be as little or greatly involved in this game as one wishes. There is an infinite quantity of fish food, but medication for treatment of 'ick' and 'fungus' must be purchased from the Supply Shop when needed. Other than that, you can choose whether or not to breed your fish.

The company that created this wonderful little game is 'Last Day of Work', a small independent company that created another game called 'Virtual Villagers'. These games are available for the PC, Mac and for mobile devices. Free trial versions can be downloaded from a number of sites or directly from the LDW site. I do urge every one to try this marvelous game and in fact, would like to support this small company that evidently believes that human nature is not dedicated solely to combat and 'killing sprees' but can be involved totally in a game that creates life rather than destroying it. (Not that I don't enjoy combat games once in awhile as well, but 'Fish Tycoon' really has enriched my life greatly.)

The homepage of Last Day of Work can be found at:

'Fish Tycoon' has won a number of awards, some of them from 'Parent' organisations. It does have tremendous educational value, but apart from that, is simply a delight to experience.

N.B. In the photograph displayed above, the following fish are featured, inter alia: Comets, Goldshark, Groupers, Fire-Arrows, Snooper and Leaffish. As you can see, there are many different species and types. There are 21 different species and within each species, 21 different types.

1 comment:

Fleming said...

You've sold me on it. Healthy aquariums are wonderfully peaceful things. There's really nothing like them for beauty and relaxation . . . and I'd much rather do whatever is done with a dead virtual fish than to net a real one that is floating wrong side up.

If you recommend a game as highly as this one, it has to be good!