Celia Pearce, Calvin Ashmore, Will Riley, Rob Fitzpatrick & Team
Mermaids is a massively multiplayer game (MMOG) developed around the principle of utilizing large-scale emergent group behavior as a design material. The game takes place in an underwater fantasy world in which players are part of a new generation of an extinct mermaid, or merrow, society. Players must rebuild their lost culture and help restore the environment, while at the same time avoiding the fate that met their ancestors.
Embedded in the environment are ruins and artifacts with clues to both their history and culture. Spells are deciphered from ancient runes; hunting and net-making techniques are diagrammed on petroglyphs. In conjunction with rebuilding their culture, players must also try to rebuild and regenerate a damaged ecosystem, and learn to interact with it in a balanced and synergistic way.