A little while back I got to play around with the scuba
simulation game Endless Ocean, also known as Forever Blue in Japan. It’s one of those titles you really hesitate to call a game. It’s more of a interactive screen saver/insomnia cure. But it is of course of the many upcoming non-games for the Wii made inevitable by the success of all the non-games that are so popular on the DS. Click on for impressions.
The first thing that really struck me was how good it looked. When you first dive into the ocean, it is quite beautiful, and I wondered briefly if the graphical power of the Wii had been underestimated. Then as I swam around, my second impression was, “is that all?” The diver in the game swam about quite easily with the Wii controls, and I was able to touch some fish, and feed some fish. It seems the purpose of the game is to touch and feed different fish and sea creatures, and by doing this you learn what is the name of said fish. The different fish and animals you discover by touching and feeding can later be added to your personal aquarium roster, which you can then use to pick and choose which ones you want to touch and feed.
I turned the game on during a lazy Sunday after it had been gathering dust in the game stack to once again try to see if I could find something to lure the wife into my world. My wife hates games, but every once in a while a certain title will hook her in. Games Like Animal Crossing and Chibi Robo would become her obession for a couple of weeks, and then never touched again. She didn’t want to play, but she watched me swim around for about an hour before falling deeply asleep on the couch. I continued playing for a couple of hours until she woke up and muttered “You’re still playing this crap?” “Not anymore.” I replied and shut it down.
The game is quite hypnotizing and peaceful. The music really captures the mood (or creates it?) , and the soothing bubbles and breathing as you swim around is pretty immersive. During my swim I found and fed (or touched) various tropical fish, penguins, seals, dolphins, and sharks (they can’t hurt you). All of them swam convincingly, and smoothly through the water. The whole experience would have almost been a game if you had to actually learn about how to scuba dive. But all you really basically do is swim about. So basically I am putting myself to sleep just remembering the experience.