The first title to officially launch the Just Play label is the PC CD-ROM version of The Amazing Virtual Sea-Monkeys® - the brainchild of the artificial intelligence games developer, Creature Labs, best known for their award-winning Creatures sim management games.
Just Play MD Mungo Amyatt-Leir said, "Just Play has implemented a strategic business model that gives games developers the opportunity to have an equal share in the commercial success and global distribution of their products."
"What's significant about The Amazing Virtual Sea-Monkeys®," continues Amyatt-Leir, "is that it combines all the AI ingredients that comprise a real-time virtual pet with a simulation enhanced environment. The game utilises Creature Labs' patented Creatures artificial intelligence programmed 3-D engine. What you get is a cross between The Sims, Creatures and a virtual pet game such as Catz and Dogz. It's destined to tap a nerve."
Sea-Monkeys® was initially launched in America in 1960 by Honey Toy Industries as a biological novelty that sold in superhero comic books for only 49 cents. Sea-Monkeys come as dehydrated eggs, sealed in packets. When added to water the eggs instantly came to life as prehistoric-like underwater creatures and can live up to two years as underwater pets. Not only did Sea-Monkeys capture the imagination of children and adults alike as an inexpensive novelty and toy; it also enabled families and schools to study the underwater oddities as a mysterious biological hobby. They've even been into space with NASA and the Space Shuttle!
The creator of Sea-Monkeys®, Harold von Braunhut realised the brand would not instantly appeal to traditional high street retailers, and so he looked to comic book mail order as his gateway to success.
Hook, line and sinker, the initial ads immediately captured the attention of youngsters across America. Orders started flooding in, and Sea-Monkey awareness spread like wildfire. Now, 41 years later, Sea-Monkeys® Instant Life® kits and a range of Sea-Monkey® merchandise (themed aquariums includes Space Shuttle Adventure®, Magic Castle®, PenQuarium®, etc) defy national boundaries and millions of families every year become hooked with this obsession.
"Sea-Monkeys® encapsulates a vast heritage as a simple, fascinating pocket money novelty toy that effectively bridges the gap between science and pet ownership," says Amyatt-Leir. "Just Play believes the timing is perfect for an artificial intelligence enhanced Sea-Monkeys® computer game.
Creature Labs have redefined the boundaries of the "creating life" concept first introduced in 1960, and have adapted it for the PC generation. Whoever could imagine that raising prehistoric-like creatures would result into such a sophisticated piece of software technology?"
In addition to marketing The Amazing Virtual Sea Monkeys® into a unique artificial life sim-management PC game, Just Play are planning an enterprising cross marketing campaign with the ingenious Sea-Monkeys merchandise . One of the more popular items that can be found on the website is the Deluxe Sea-Monkey Speedway®; a racetrack where people can pit Sea-Monkey against Sea-Monkey in an aquatic race to the finish line. The entire concept for the game lies in the fact that the creatures swim against the waters' current like a trout. The Speedway kit provides plastic fabricated spillway tracks to fill with water and race your underwater specimens.
It's this kind of imaginative marketing that sets the Sea-Monkey® line apart from other toys.
Sea-Monkeys® has remained essentially the same since 1960: add powder to water and bring the creatures to life. What has changed is the way this simple idea has been packaged and presented for the public's financial consumption. Here in lies the real testament to the greatness that is Sea-Monkeys®. Von Braunhut is famous for taking the smallest fact and elaborately packaging it into a spectacular wonder of science and entertainment.
Sea-Monkey® Instant Life Food ® Packets
"The Amazing Virtual Sea-Monkeys® computer game is a by-product of a tried and tested concept that combines science with nurturing whilst being both humorous and huge fun to play with - or to simply just watch it evolve on your screen," concludes Just Play's Amyatt-Leir. "This incredible product will be bringing everyone's PC to life this Christmas!"
COME AND CATCH SEA-MONKEYS AT ECTS, 2-4 SEPTEMBER 2001!
ECTS is Europe's No.1 interactive entertainment expo for computer games. Catch the latest videogames in the heart of London's East End Docklands!