This post is another installment in The Kenyon Gaming Chronicles, a feature in which we attempt to play every Free-To-Play game in the Steam store. Sure, the goal is lofty, but these games are affordable, omnipresent and simple to download – what could possibly go wrong?
For our next endeavor, I decided we should go for something with a little more chill than, oh, I don’t know, turning into a geriatric Clint Eastwood with major frontbutt and shooting aliens in your poorly textured front yard. Among Ripples, by Eat Create Sleep, looked like a promising candidate at first glance, so I threw caution to the wind (or, should I say, into the pond) and went for it.
The moment this game finished downloading into my Steam library, I couldn’t help but smile sweetly like a young, tender babe freshly thrust into the world, unaware of the cruelty it would soon be immersed in. I was ready to embark on an anxiety-free pond ecosystem simulation experience. Spirits lifted, I opened the game. Lovely watercolor graphics greeted me alongside a song so calming that my fond memories of Mr. Rogers’ sweet sermonizing were likened to that of a fax machine. I quickly succumbed to the ambience.
Oh, how naïve I was. I never should have let it serenade me with its dulcet synthesizer meditations and charming aesthetic appeal. This game would soon be a thorn my metaphysical side. Never have I ever been so aware of my own mortality than I was after playing this game for the first time.
Among Ripples is basically Spore, but with less overhyped disappointment and more pseudo-chill life ruining. You are the Supreme Overlord of this pond. Your title doesn’t come with any cool perks, though. You are not the strange meddling God of The Sims who reaches down and sternly nudges their subjects about. You are more of a Satanic omniscience that carelessly creates and does nothing to intervene. All you get to do is spawn aquatic life and watch it die.
You click on different zones of the pond’s border to spawn clams, lobsters, dark green fish with big snouts that are huge jerks, tiny little “insta-spawn insta-die” helpless guppies, “typical middle child with issues” fish of average size, and THE OTTER™. Man, that otter has so much fun swimming around doing nothing. But yeah, when a creature eats another, it gets bigger. Attempts to contact EA regarding the possible theft of this idea from Spore were unsuccessful, just like the company itself.
In all seriousness (no, I didn’t really try to contact EA), I’m really not sure what this game was trying to be, more than an interactive screensaver that makes you lose all respect for life. After staring frantically at the screen and clicking endlessly to respawn fish into my festering cesspool, to continue in their ancestors legacy of thriving and dying in their own filth, I got to thinking. How are we any different? Are we not little guppies getting gobbled by the big predator fish that is life? How cruel is it that we were flung from oblivion and put into an existence in which we experience so much pain and so little gain, just like how these fish are spawned so I can watch them die?
Then the otter died. The. Otter. Died. That was it. These jerkoffs had the audacity to take from me what I valued most as the passively evil Lord of the Pond. I angrily closed the game and went straight to the reviews, and boy, were those riveting.
*DOTA 2 sucks.