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Darwin Pond

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Jeffrey Ventrella

GAME DEVELOPER:Rocket Science Games


Copyright 1997, Jeffrey Ventrella

Developed by Rocket Science before the company folded and now released as freeware by its designer, Darwin Pond is an excellent, innovative artificial life simulation. Like other life sims, the game is an electronic playground that lets you control the parameters of a primordial genetic soup to watch artificial life survive and evolve over time. The “Darwin Pond” in the game is inhabited by hundreds of wiggly things called “swimmers”. These swimmers constantly evolve their anatomies and motions over many generations, and their actions are fascinating to watch. Similar to Maxis’ Unnatural Selection, you not only can passively watch the swimmers, but also determine their fate by tweaking parameters (e.g. changing food growth rate and swimmer energy levels) and setting up experiments. You can even set up little scenarios and see if you can meet your own self-imposed goals, such as breeding the fastest swimmers or a population of three-legged ones.

The game offers a wide range of options: you can create random swimmers, kill them, feed them, tweak their genes, clone them, transport them to different Ponds, or even save their genes in a file and share them with your friends. With a lot of parameters to tweak and many options, the possibility seems endless. If you enjoy artificial life simulations, you will love Darwin Pond. Two thumbs up, way up!

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