Princeton University develops new multiplayer video game… for fish

princeton university video game

Free-to-play, social, mobile, streaming, blah blah blah. Aren’t you sick of hearing about the new platforms that are going to change video games forever? So Electronic Arts is making PC games that it doesn’t expect you to pay $60 for upfront. That’s not revolutionary, that’s just finding a new way for people to pay for games. Social components are more important features than lengthy campaigns? Surprise, people like to play games together! The trends defining the video game market at the end of 2012 are boring. Passé. They’re all about money, not how we play games.

You want to know where the real revolution in video games is happening? Princeton University. They’ve made a video game that you can play with fish.

A new study published in the Science Journal (via BBC) describes the video game Princeton Universtiy developed to study the habits of bluegill sunfish. Bluegill’s are predators, so researcher Dr. Iain Couzin from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and his team developed a game that simulates their food source.

How it works: Scientists project a collection of red dots on a translucent screen that the fish can see. If many dots are grouped together, the fish are less likely to attack the dots.

For the human researchers, the simulation proved that laser pointers are a hilarious way to mess with fish as well as with cats. It also proved the evolutionary function of finding safety in numbers. The game gave the team a controlled set of parameters it simply couldn’t replicate using the fish’s natural prey.

“By creating an immersive video game for the fish we were able to have complete control over the parameters. Trying to do this experiment with natural prey items, it would been impossible to control or understand what was going on.”

Like all games though, Couzin’s team is looking to amp up the technological prowess in the game’s next iteration using 3D tech. “It will be a fully 3D virtual world to these organisms,” said Couzins, “We’re developing an automating tracking system so we can track the position of their eyes and reconstruct a virtual world of prey items, using conventional projectors.”

Does practice make perfect though? What happens if Couzin’s fish learn to play better? “In any computer game, if you have one type of enemy, it’s easy to learn. It would be fascinating to understand whether the fish learned to play the game better over time.”

Now all they need to do is figure out a way to put Seaman from Sega’s Seaman series into the tank with the fish to try and teach them English.


Fortnite’s adorable pets are no longer hands-off, thanks to latest update

The latest update for Fortnite rights a heinous wrong. Pets were introduced in Season 6, but players were unable to pet them. Update v8.40 fixes that so players can now pet whatever adopted creature other players have on their back.

The best video games for kids, sorted by age group, for April 2019

There are a wealth of great games out there that both parents and kids can enjoy together. We compiled a list of 30-plus games across all genres that are sure to make family game night a great time.

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.

From the games to the hardware, here's what we know about the Sega Genesis Mini

The Sega Genesis Mini console was just announced, and it's set to release later this year. Here is everything we know about the console, including its hardware, as well as a list of included games.

Cuphead is like a Saturday morning cartoon I never want to end

Revisiting Cuphead on Nintendo Switch is just as memorable as it was on Xbox One nearly two years ago. Cuphead's aesthetic has a magical quality that transports you back to the childhood joy of discovery.

How to get into the Halo: Reach beta on Xbox One and PC

Halo: Reach is coming to The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One and the recently announced PC port. Ahead of its unknown launch date, Microsoft and 343 Industries will host a Halo: Reach beta for both Xbox One and PC users.

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

Kick off your streaming career with our complete guide to Twitch broadcasting

Streaming games on Twitch for the first time can be daunting to say the least, but with a few simple steps, it's remarkably easy to do. Here's how to do so using a PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 console.

How to share your best gaming moments on the Xbox One and its app

The current generation of consoles makes it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.