So, I was listening to this podcast from Science Friday, about the sad plight of bees. They really sound like they're up against a lot, and are very sensitive. There's a problem of a lack of variety - corn, corn corn, too much, doesn't serve their purpose and they're malnourished. And then there's pesticides, where only a few parts per billion can get into the bees systems from the pollen and then affect their behavior.
So, of course, while listening to this I thought: Video game! Maybe an RTS, maybe a hybrid game. But a bee colony has a set of behaviors, each bee is essentially grinding pollen, and/or on a fetch quest. They've also got some rad other behaviors, like scouting, dancing and of course, making honey. Why not have a game about it ? What I like about this game is that it doesn't have to be *super duper* compelling game-play wise. It can be basic, even a little boring. But what it *does* have to do is be as accurate as possible (maybe a little bit of creative license, but there's always some of that, they call it 'theory'). And allow the players to take part in the different parts of running a bee colony. Sim Bee! Sim Colony! TM TM TM!!! Anyway, I think that would be great. I also think it would be great to pilot a Bee in 3d space. zip zip zip!
In addition, it wouldn't be hard to come up with a story arc. Have a bee colony that's doing well, through the generations. But then have it run into some of the bee colony problems listed above in the podcast. Suddenly, there's a lack of nutritional variety, become more and more scarce, while on the other hand, there's pesticides slowly finding their way in, fucking shit up. Sadness. But a good story, and valuable!
The second animal idea I had was bird flight simulator. I suppose there could be some flocking that might happen. Birds come in many shapes and sizes and flying styles, not all can form those great 'V's we see overhead. But birds have their own interesting qualities if you watch them. I'm sure that the annals of ornithology have all sorts of fun data to play with in terms of gaming and simulation.
Because- so many games are just simulators if you look at them right. Mario Kart is a go-kart simulator. But that was too boring, so they through in items and zips and combat and such.
Mega Man is a running jumping and shooting simulator-- A Kinesiology simulator! It's not very accurate though. Same for Super Mario Bros. Similar to how action figures are little humans, that just don't move right. Those funny art pose figurines are much closer than GI Joe or HeMan ever were.
Anyway, I think educational and simulation games is where its at. You can quote me on that. Also, you can steal my ideas, since they aren't worth much on their own. But I really want to stress that I think games based on educational and science topics can really be awesome. Everyone loves physics engines, let's try to use them for something other than blowing shit up! And if I'm right, then playing games that will teach us about the birds and the bees may help us be more compassionate, and that's a quality you can never have too much of.