What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that fish die and need to be removed from the tanks. The game teaches kids about genetics and running a fish-breeding business. Kids learn about market forces as they discover that rare fish can command high prices. And they learn to use resources efficiently because they can raise only 20 fish per tank. Kids also learn about pet responsibility.
What's it about?
With FISH TYCOON, kids learn about genetics, running a fish-breeding business, and pet responsibility by maintaining three tropical fish aquariums. The game challenges players to interbreed different species of tropical fish in hopes of genetically recreating the seven Magical Fish of the Island of Isola, where the rarest and most exotic fish used to live.
Players start with one tank containing a few "teenage" fish and some unknown fish eggs. Players can create over 400 species of fish by combining different species. As in the real world, fish breeding requires money and attention -- players need money for medicines, new fish eggs, fish supplies, and technological advances, and they earn money by selling grown fish in the pet store. Players experiment with price and can influence the traffic flow to the store by advertising.
Is it any good?
Just watching the fish swim across the computer screen is fun. But the game becomes more compelling as players breed new, unique fish. Testers were drawn to observe their tank every few hours to see what weird new fish had been born and whether they had managed to create a Magical Fish. Kids learn about market forces as they discover that rare fish can command high prices, and they learn to use resources efficiently because they can raise only 20 fish per tank.
Parents might not want to play this simulation with very young kids because fish do die and will need to be thrown away. But for kids old enough to handle fish mortality, Fish Tycoon is a fascinating way to tinker with genetics and learn about pet responsibility. Families can try Fish Tycoon for free for one hour by downloading it at the Web site Last Day of Work.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the best ways to create new fish breeds. While kids can just fool around breeding random fish, the game encourages kids to come up with a system of exploring how to create new breeds. Parents might want to help kids figure out how to do this by making charts or keeping notes. This simulation can be a good way to discuss genetics. Parents might want to introduce the concepts of dominant and recessive genes.