Among Ripples is a game with a brilliant concept: A management tycoon game that has you saving the world rather than exploiting it. Your job is to save damaged freshwater ecosystems in northern europe, which may not be the sexiest idea but is actually the sexiest idea ever if you ask your secondary school environmental science teacher about it. In the game, you and your team of field scientists have to stock lakes with critters like dace, perch, pikes, otters, ducks, and my personal favorite: crayfish. (Or “crawdads” as they’re known where I’m from.) As a kid, nothing scared the everliving pants off me more than when you were wading in the creek and suddenly there was a pincer-toting mud bug scuttling about.
Anywhat, here’s a game about that. You have to manage the oxygen, nutrients, and pollution levels in your lakes to be sure that your animals can make a living. As you build a pyramid of species all dependent on each other, their needs become more complex. Martin Greip is the CEO of Among Ripples developer Eat Create Sleep. “You can tell someone, face to face, in one minute that predators keep check on prey animals,” said Greip, “But being able to play these things out makes you really *get* when you need to strategise.” Greip’s studio has worked closely with ecologists to make a game that’s not only scientifically sound, but fun to play. “The real world is based on systemic relationships and our natural world is like a big giant emergent sandbox,” said Greip. “So basically we look at each animal like if it was a unit in an RTS game, it has weaknesses and strengths. We ask the ecologists how each animal functions and how it relates to others, then we put that into play.”