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Video Game / SimAnt

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"Few ant colonies last very long, but maybe, with your help, this one will survive."
—the introduction to SimAnt on the SNES

SimAnt is a 1991 Simulation Game in which you control an ant colony by manipulating pie charts and selectively controlling the actions of individual ants whom you choose (e.g. moving the queen out of danger or leading a group of other ants into battle as a member of the soldier caste). The objective is genocide: kill the red ants, and then drive out the humans and take over their house, and you win. Originally a computer game published for MS-DOS, Amiga, and then ported to Windows, the game was also given a console port on the Super NES.

Compare this to more modern ant games, such as Empire of the Ants and Empires of the Undergrowth.

This game provides examples of:

  • Animate Inanimate Object: The evil lawn mower
    "The evil lawn mower has sucked you into its whirling blades! Your body is reduced to a thin slime."
  • Antlion Monster: Antlions are an obstacle. Basically, they force you to be more careful with the auto-pathing since your ant has no real sense of self-preservation.
  • Ant Assault: You play as the black ant colony. Your goal is to wipe out a neighboring red ant colony, take over the yard, and drive the humans out of their house.
  • Ant War: The premise of the game is a black ant colony (probably specimens of Lasius niger) wiping out a neighboring red ant colony (probably Solenopsis invicta or Pogonomyrmex barbatus), taking over the yard, and driving the humans out of their house.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The game cannot emulate more than 100 ants while you're looking at the surface.
  • Big Ball of Violence: What ant-on-ant combat looks like.
  • Booby Trap: Antlion nests outdoors, power sockets in the house. Death to all who enter. Although if you gather a large enough ant army, you can take on the antlions and turn them into food. This doesn't work with power sockets, for obvious reasons.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: You play as the black ants, the enemies are the red ants. Your character is the yellow ant. Pure and simple.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • As dangerous as spiders are, basically being The Juggernaut, they are killable by a determined enough Zerg Rush of player-controlled ants or being crushed to death by humans. Their corpse then turns into food pellets for the colony to eat.
    • Driving out the humans is a straighter example, since humans are essentially a godlike presence and otherwise unkillable.
  • Double Entendre: One of the quotes when two ants are fighting in comedic mode: "Better dead than red."
  • The Dragon: The Avenger is the secondary antagonist as she is the daughter of the area's red ant queen and will always go after the player.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: The cause of most ant-on-ant violence is red ants stealing food from black ants and vice versa.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Avenger is the red ant colony's version of your yellow ant. She always leads any attacks by the reds on the black nest, and if she's killed, the red ants will panic and flee in all directions. However, the ant is visually indistinguishable from the others and can only be spotted by highlighting it (the ant's "behavior" will be listed as "Avenger"). The Avenger also has the best enemy AI in the game as no matter what ant caste you respawn as, she always seems to know which ant you are. In fact, despite how huge the maps are, she always knows your coordinates and is already coming after you in an attempt to take you down - this is a good way to find her if you're looking for her.
  • Forgets to Eat: As your ant walks around, your hunger meter goes down extremely fast. It is quite easy to starve to death in mere seconds. Even more ridiculous when you starve to death while carrying food to the nest (in your mouth). Luckily, if you have recruited other ants to follow you, they will take the initiative and feed you. At least in the PC version, your ant gets more combat effective the hungrier it is.
  • Giant Spider: The Spider, in terms of the ants.
  • Grand Theft Me: (PC/Mac Version) You can swap bodies with any other ant at will, including the Queen or the useless breeders. Can be good for ditching a starving body at the last moment, or avoiding enemy ants as a form of crude teleportation. You can even take over red ants or the spider.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • When you are eaten by a spider:
      "As the spider's venom courses through your veins, you feel like you have been set on fire."
    • When you are run over by an "evil" lawn mower:
      "The evil lawn mower has sucked you into its whirling blades! Your body is reduced to a thin slime."
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: With the "funny" captions on, many ants will provide dialogue in this style, as if they were fresh out of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The human inhabitant of the house often commits genocide for seemingly arbitrary reasons, such as using bug spray and the lawn mower, or even just walking around outside. If you proliferate enough, though, you can win the game by punching out Cthulhu.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The manual is full of fantastic ant puns.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: See We Have Reserves. As long as the Queen is alive, you're immortal.
    "You are reborn!"
  • Jump Scare: Getting killed by the spider while wearing headphones may result in spine-chilling emotional trauma.
  • Keystone Army: You can conquer an area or win a scenario just by being lucky enough to find the red queen and kill her in one shot.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The primary law of playing Full Game Mode and Scenario Mode is this: If you don't get to the food first, your colony WILL become outnumbered and die off from starvation. Simple as that.
    • Full Game Mode is very disappointing for the fact that it's basically a race to colonize all 49 areas of the house which means that winning and losing the entire game all boils down to whoever gets their breeders up in the air first.
    • The physical layout of Scenario 6 (SNES Version) is notorious for having constrictive bottlenecks which makes it very difficult to get access to food as a large number of AI-controlled ants will get jammed up in one area. You can turn this to your advantage by quickly building pebble walls to cordon off the red ants from the middle area which is usually enough to starve them to death.
    • Scenario 7 (SNES Version) is almost impossible to win as most of the food falls on the red side of the Porch. However, a quick way to win is to run to the Red Nest and kill the Queen yourself.
    • Scenario 8 (SNES Version) is basically a death race towards armageddon as there is tons and TONS of food everywhere. The first colony that collects 70% of the food will eventually win by sheer weight of numbers alone.
  • Not So Weak: A queen still has a good chance of winning against a worker, but she's near-helpless against a soldier ant.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Spider will always respawn on the map in an area where you're not looking.
  • Silliness Switch: The PC and Mac versions include an option to add silly sound effects to the game, and word balloon commentary from the ants.
  • The Swarm: You can lead one in a colony of sufficient size. Select an ant, move into a populated area, use the gather command, and pretty soon you will have a horde of them following you and ready to attack any hostile you come across.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As mentioned above, you can change your player to be any other ant in the game. This means you can make yourself into the Queen and deliberately walk into the path of the spider. Hell, you can even be the spider.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Scenario Mode requires extra caution when playing as you only have three lives. Lose all of those needlessly and the colony perishes without you.
  • We Have Reserves: If and when you die, you immediately gain control of an ant that newly hatches. If the death images haven't scared you off.
  • Work Info Title: The "Sim" in the title lets you know it's a Simulation Game, though you obviously can't work as an ant otherwise.