SimLife as Successful Educational Technology
The game SimLife came out in 1992, and I used to enjoy playing it on my computer at The Media Lab in the evenings. I’d set up a world, and let it run all night. One evening before I went home, I added a new species that I called a “mountain beast.” I made the mountain beast the best possible at everything. Does it eat plants? Sure. Eat meat? Sure. Live in deserts? Sure. Live in mountains? Of course! Eats everything, lives everywhere. I added a few mountain beasts and went home. And in the morning… I had nothing but mountain beasts. Every other species had gone extinct!
It was a memorable experience. Ecosystems are complex and hard to understand, but I felt like my mountain beast experience taught me something. So tip of the hat to the memory of a good simulation, and to my mountain beast.