Did this computer game about evolution actually exist?
May 13, 2011 5:10 AM   Subscribe

Sometime in the late '80s or early '90s I read, in a computer magazine, a review of a game where you had to create a creature by manipulating "genes" for various traits then release it into a wireframe ecosystem. Did this game ever actually exist? Anyone heard of it?

I think the genes were represented in a screenshot by a vertical row of coloured circles which appeared to essentially work as left-right sliders for things like size and lifespan. Depending on how they were arranged, you could end up with anything from a plant to a slug to a hominid. According to the review you could do things like give an insect a long nose and turn it into a mosquito so it probably wasn't a strictly accurate depiction of evolutionary biology.

The rest of the gameplay took place in a fairly simple-looking wireframe world where your creature wandered around and interacted with other creatures, mostly by eating them or being eaten.

I'm not sure what system it ran on. Most likely it was DOS or whatever Apple OS was around at the time, although it may have been Amiga.

I have no idea why I still remember this review. Probably because the game sounded pretty cool and unlike anything else I'd ever played. It's possible, though, that the review was a prank of some kind (although the magazine it was in was a serious computer magazine rather than a games mag like Zzap or something) and the game never existed. Or was never released, or was so terrible it was forgotten instantly. I've certainly never seen it referred to anywhere else.

It wasn't SimEarth. Any other ideas?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds a lot like the early concepts behind "Spore". They spent years occasionally leaking bits and pieces of ideas, only to end up with a very pale imitation of them as the final product.
posted by briank at 5:13 AM on May 13, 2011

posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:20 AM on May 13, 2011

posted by jozxyqk at 5:28 AM on May 13, 2011

no, it wasn't SimLife; It didn't have anything like a wireframe world.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:41 AM on May 13, 2011

Best answer: It's sounds a lot like the game cortex was looking for in this old question, which turned out to be Eco. (That post was the first result for "wireframe evolution game," btw -- score one for AskMe!)
posted by Rhaomi at 5:42 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: It's funny how the search terms to use seem so obvious in hindsight. I tried everything except "wireframe" and now I feel a little ashamed. Thanks, Rhaomi!

Here's a video, by the way.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:54 AM on May 13, 2011

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