The Unofficial Sea-Monkey(R) Simulation

I guess sea-monkeys are one of those iconic things about the ... 1970s, I think. It seems as though every comic book of the era had an ad for sea-monkeys on the back. The game here is pretty much into the 1970s/1980s aesthetic, emulating a DOS screen as it starts up, though we continue by clicking on things rather than by typing.

The game part of this work is a daily simulation, pretty much as it says in the title. We choose what we want to do with the tank of sea-monkeys that day (feed them, stir them up, add water, or just do nothing) and then we go to the next day, with a status report of the tank and the sea-monkey population therein.

That just continues until either all the sea-monkeys die, or something remarkable happens in our home life. No, it does not appear as though we have any control over the story half of this work: that's all random events that pop up every so often as we progress on the simulation. Whether we're doing well or not only matters in that we have to keep the sea-monkeys alive long enough to reach one of the random "unlikely" endings.

Then we continue until we reach the real ending. Well, the real ending of the story of our childhood with the sea-monkeys; after THAT comes a quick CYOA segment about our adult life, before the game actually ends.

Game and story feel pretty well divorced, and that's a meta comment. The random events of the story half are pretty well-told, heartfelt, and maybe a little painful, but, as noted, we have no control over them. Structurally speaking, this thing is about treading water for maybe half an hour until we finally get a break, then actively playing for maybe one minute to find out how it all ends.

I don't know. It seems like this is something that will reward patience and the sort of hard-headedness that's determined to keep those sea-monkeys alive, dammit. I think there's some artistic merit beyond the fact of the game and the story; I think some discussion could be had about the amount of control children have over the deterioration of their parents' relationship. It's kind of meta. But ultimately, I think we're mostly interested in how well we enjoy the thing.

I think it's kind of like a pair of Hostess fruit pies (blueberry and cherry) and a carton of chocolate milk for breakfast. Tasty, reminiscent of an early-1980s childhood, and ultimately requiring very little work on our part to get it all out of their wrappers and down our throats.