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Waking Mars
Bar Harbor
Just finished playing a great iOs game called Waking Mars. I really, really enjoyed it. It's a science fiction game about explorers on Mars, discovering the remnants of an ancient ecosystem, whose seeds are still viable. You study the relationships between the various organisms as you attempt to restore this ecosystem to full working order in the mysterious cave beneath the Martian surface.

The game is, in the broadest sense, an action-platformer, but doesn't require extremely high hand-eye coordination. (At least on an iPad. I suspect it would be a bit trickier on a phone-sized screen.) When you bring up the menu of seeds to throw one, the game pauses, making it generally easy to aim.

Besides being an enjoyable experience on its own terms, I got the strong impression that the makers of this game were making some implicit political statements about the possibilities of games, as opposed to the 'accepted wisdom' of the big game companies. This is one of the few games I've played lately that *can't* be described as "shoot, shoot, take their loot"; it's entirely themed around growth, restoration, exploration, and discovery. Yet I found it no less exciting, for all that. The two human protagonists (there are a few AIs in the cast, also) are a Chinese male and an African female, so there's complete gender balance, and not a single Caucasian to be seen. I didn't have any trouble identifying with these protagonists.

Very highly recommended.

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Nifty idea. I'll look for in the Store.

Reminds me a bit of an idea australian_joe and I kicked around briefly, which boiled down to Competitive Terraforming: which can optimize a planet for their species, while making it hostile to the other, all while maintaining its inherent, valuable indigenous species?

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