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The Genetics of a Virtual Pet

July 14, 2010

The Science Museum in London has a cute little video game called Thingdom on their website. You begin by selecting a little virtual pet that looks like moldy sentient Jell-O and help it grow. There’s a limited set of options when it comes to the actual pet part; most of my little critters seemed to hate being touched. You can also skip that caring and growing and get right to the sex.

The point of the game is to introduce genetics to kids. To unlock the next level, you’ll need to mate your pet with one of the available Things that will result in the desired genetic trait. For instance, the goal of the first level might be the color green. So you’ll need to direct your Thing’s libido towards a good match that would result in green offspring. The game gets a little more complex as it goes on; you’ll need several generations to achieve the genetic goal. Overall it’s simple, cute, and fun and a decent way to waste your lunch hour.

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