Researchers Make a Video Game for Fish, Because Serious Science Can Be Very Silly Sometimes

Somehow it just seems inevitable, really. There have been virtual worlds for mice and iPad games for cats.

So sure, why not: science has now taken video games to sleep with the fishies.

The BBC reports that a team of researchers from Princeton University designed a video game to use to research behavior patterns in a certain species of fish. The game was designed to project red dots onto a translucent screen, to see how the bluegill sunfish responded.

Just as a human player will eventually learn how to beat any statically-generated game, though, researchers needed to make sure that the computer-generated images would be random enough for the fish to be unable to win:

[Senior researcher Dr. Iain Couzin] said it was important that the game had been coded so that the movement of the dots did not become predictable.

"In any computer game if you have one type of enemy it's easy to learn," said Mr Couzin.

"It would be fascinating to understand whether the fish learned to play the game better over time."

An immersive—and immersed—video game for fish. I love living in the future. It's delightfully, pragmatically weird.

Fish play video game in new behaviour study [BBC News]

(Original photo: Flickr user RachelH_)