In the Loop

Is the command for that "Ctrl-P" ?

Posted at 4:20 PM on August 1, 2007 by Jeff Horwich

(Screen shot via WolfQuest.com)
wolfgame.jpg
I'm not sure whether to be intrigued or disturbed.

The Minnesota Zoo is using a big grant to develop a new multiplayer "wolf pack" simulation game called WolfQuest. I just finished watching a preview video they've now got up on their web site. Watch for yourself...but here's my log of the unsettling progression from cute to disturbing.

SCENE 1: Child uses arrow keys to maneuver awesome digital wolf around in a field.
Analysis: Fun. Kids like nature and fuzzy creatures, right?

SCENE 2: Child uses mouse to make wolf howl and growl to communicate in wolf-talk, presumably with other players. Child mimics wolf sounds while sitting at computer.
Analysis: Still cute. Animals communicate through their own language of sounds and gestures -- see, we're learning!

SCENE 3: Child uses a third video game command to make wolf pee.
Analysis: This has to be a first -- I don't think even Grand Theft Auto lets you pee on stuff. Unlike first two forms of wolf expression, fortunately child does not mimic wolf behavior while sitting at computer.

SCENE 4: Children from around the country network in, controlling their own wolves. The three animals now start to move as a pack through the countryside.
Analysis: Only bad can come of this.

SCENE 5: An elk. Let's get him! Children maneuver their creatures in for the kill, surrounding the elk. One sees an opening, lunges for the throat and...the elk comes down! Cut to jubilant children bouncing in their chairs, with at least one doing the obligatory "Yes!" elbow-pull.
Analysis: Um....this concludes today's lesson in "Gang Mentality 101." Level 2: Bring down a fawn! Let's go!

August 2007
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