A God Among Insects
"Find the least contacted community in the most underdeveloped corner of the world, and you will probably find kids with sticks playing with ants. The insect's charm is understandable. In ants, we find tiny but industrious creatures that work together to build cities and surmount obstacles far too great for the individual. We enjoy observing and meddling with these miniature societies, because in them we see our own."
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"It was Experimental Mode that really did it for me. I could lose an entire rainy Saturday just playing with virtual ants. One of my favorite games was creating an enclosed arena of walls with a little bit of food in the center and few ant lions spread around. Then I'd place a few black ants and a few red ants on either side and watch them tear each other apart. I was Caesar, and these were my gladiators."
The modern equivelant, G-mod, has allowed a new generation to do just the same thing.
I will admit that I never played with ants as a kid, and that was mostly due to the fact that I am an insectaphobe. However, I agree with the fact that the micro scale is far more interesting that the macro. That is why the Sims was so much more popular than SimCity or SimEarth. With each scale decrease, there is less automation of the subjects and more automation of the world. That way, you feel like you can actually interact with the things you are looking at, instead of making it rain and hoping they take out an umbrella.
Hey, Mathblaster was badass!
I'll admit though, the satisfaction of invading the house and dominating the humans always gave me this weird David & Goliath sense of satisfaction.
sadly i was given mathblaster, and Sid and Als incredible toons.... Thusly I destroyed far more ants with magnifying glasses that probably warrants going to heaven. Ah to be 27 again.
Sim Ant was awesome. I especially liked the pesticide option in the experimental mode.
By the time I could take over the house, I really had stopped finding the basic gameplay challenging. Maybe if I could have stopped myself from walking an ant over to the foodpile (found using minimap) and rally-all ing, it would have been harder.
Hot damn, I haven't played this game in something like 15-20 years. I still remember it so vividly.
Excellent article. I remember playing SimAnt when I was little over my friends house quite often. It's interesting because we only tortured for a couple of minutes and then we would get bored and try to actually build up the ant colony...I don't remember if we actually completed the game. What about SimCopter? That was my favorite Sim game~
I've never played SimAnt, but it looks really fun.
I remember this game.
I thought it was horrible how my classmates (my school also thought it was educational, somehow...)reveled in torturing them. They figured it was fine since they were digital, but their bellicose nature really shined through for me to see.
And then I found pokemon.
This has renewed my long-standing desire to find a decent emulator for SimAnt.
Great article. I suppose there are two things to comment on: the ability for god games - and indeed, experimental modes in other games, including my experimental arena of choice, Operation Flashpoint - to give you the freedom and flexibility to explore all aspects of the game and also the sadistic tendencies of some gamers.
I love when I get an easy-to-use experimental mode in a game. Some god games, including the Sim games, are pretty much experimental modes in their own rights, while other games, including several real-time strategy games and even some first-person shooters, allow the player to really explore the possibilities that a game engine has.
As for the sadistic element, I've never really been drawn towards this. It is fun, however, to watch a computer character squirm as you subject it to various challenges. Lemmings is a game I remember well, because I was never good enough to play it well. Now, that was bad AI with a purpose!
Thanks to all for the nice comments, and Sylocat, let me know if you have any luck with that... :)