Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Taking a Break: Fish Tycoon
One of the most satisfying yet unthreatening games I have played in recent years is 'Fish Tycoon'. Although it has been made now for the DS platform, I played the PC version of it, and in fact, although I love the DS, the PC game has something to offer that is absent where the DS is concerned.
The PC version can run on your computer at all times. It can act as a screensaver in fact, allowing you to watch your beautiful fish in a virtual aquarium while you perform other tasks. It may be called 'Fish Tycoon' but the object of the game really is to breed exotic new fish at your own pace. I suppose that is why it has been branded a game for the 'casual gamer', but in fact, it is fairly challenging in its own way.
You need to be able to sell fish in order to make enough money for supplies and an upgrade in your ability to breed fragile species but money is not at the heart of the game. There are seven Magical Fish that need to be discovered if you wish to have the best atmosphere for your aquarium. Each Magical Fish brings a little boost to one aspect of existence, whether it is Fertility, Curing, Health or even Diversity in Breeding.
I was inspired to write a guide for the game, in fact, when I first played it, as it was fascinating to discover the species that would result from each experiment in breeding.
It is the sort of game that you can play slowly or earnestly, depending on your mood. You can adjust the passage of time to run at normal speed, double speed, half speed or to stop completely.
There is a part of me that never ceases to be excited by the birth of a new fish and if I did not engineer the results, I always love to discover what it will become when fully grown. All infant fish look the same and only develop individual characteristics as they begin to grow. At the age of 20, they finally are fully defined and can be bred or sold.
I needed a little break from Island of Happiness... but my original Fish Tycoon game was lost when I had to wipe my laptop (for the first but not the last time) over a year ago. I did not have the heart to reinstall it until now. I am glad I did. The sight and sound of a virtual aquarium in which I actually can participate actively is very therapeutic.
I have uploaded a screenshot of my 2nd Tank in Fish Tycoon. It is a little misleading perhaps in terms of variety as I tend to favour pretty fish over interesting but ugly fish. There certainly are both in Fish Tycoon, but my own favourites are the petite Fire-Arrows, Comets and Flashfish rather than the rather ugly Groupers and Catfish. As the definition of Beauty always is very subjective, however, I would not wish to insult ANY breed of fish by declaring it 'ugly'. Perhaps some find the Groupers exquisite. The Magical Wasp Grouper certainly has one of the most entertaining powers of all the Magical Fish. When you have one in your tank, fish that are born in the tank will mutate and can be any breed, rather than having their nature determined by the two parent fish.
Incidentally, in Fish Tycoon, all Fish are both male and female, by some odd magical attribute. You can breed two fish back and forth interchangeably. I suppose the game was complex enough without adding gender into the equation. There are an extraordinary number of breeds and types.
You will find a link to my General Guide for Fish Tycoon for the PC on the right side of this page. I am expanding it a little.
Now, however, I will return to the business of updating my Island of Happiness Guides. A myriad of details to add still... I suppose if I were more professional about it, I would not keep game journals any more but simply would write the information into guides immediately. I do like keeping game journals, however. I like the idea of living another life in my Harvest Moon games. Although I do write guides about the games, my primary joy is that of being part of a Harvest Moon world. Game journals allow me to do that. My character then writes about his/her life... ultimately I do fashion the information into a guide, but writing only a guide somehow would weaken the fragile link that connects me emotionally and spiritually to my other 'lives'.