- View SourceGaming Evolves
By day, Thomas Near studies the evolution of fish, wading through streams in Kentucky and Mississippi in search of new species. By night, Dr. Near, an assistant professor at Yale, is a heavy-duty gamer, steering tanks or playing football on his computer. This afternoon his two lives have come together. On his laptop swims a strange fishlike creature, with a jaw that snaps sideways and skin the color of green sea glass. As Dr. Near taps the keyboard, it wiggles and twists its way through a busy virtual ocean. It tries to eat other creatures and turns its quills toward predators that would make it a meal. The chairman of Dr. Near's department, Richard Prum, watches him play and worries about his reckless lunges. "You're just attacking them?" he asks as Dr. Near tries to eat a fat purple worm that looks too dangerous to bother.