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Some time around the (late?) 1990s, I remember seeing a novelty screensaver which showed a fantasy environment- possibly underwater- with its denizens occasionally eating each other and acquiring novel characteristics: complete with supporting squawks etc.

Does this ring a bell with anybody?

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  • I have a vague memory of seeing something similar. Since I did not have it I think it may be Mac, not PC.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 2:50
  • Interesting, but the place I saw it focussed on PC software: I don't think there was a Mac in the place. Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 6:36
  • Was this the aquarium screensaver for W3.1?
    – cup
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 16:41
  • @cup I don't believe so, because of the evolution/mutation theme. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 16:47

2 Answers 2

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This really looks like Microsoft Plus! For Windows 95.

It had a lot of cool screensavers, including the one you're talking about, plus a train station, wild animal before it was cool (yes Mac OS X Lepoard, I'm talking to you!), and even the inside view of a would-be computer.
Plus you know ... Space Cadet Pinball!

The Wikipedia entry is quite scarce, but you can find out more at https://archive.org/details/microsoft-plus-for-windows-95 and https://winworldpc.com/product/plus/1995, which both provide a questionnably-legal download link.

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    That- or the "For Kids" variant- would certainly seem to be a good starting point. But My recollection is that there was much more animated interaction between the various "denizens" rather than just a sprite moving across the screen... but OTOH I only saw it for a few moments. Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 12:06
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I strongly suspect that what I was looking at was a very early cut of "Spore" by Electronic arts, as described by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spore_(2008_video_game) and various videos on YouTube etc.

The overall appearance of the "tidepool" segment is right and above all the sound ambience is right, although my recollection is that there was more real-time updating of the "beastie".

The puzzling thing is that I know exactly where I saw it (a programming tools supplier in the UK's West Country) and while I might possibly have visited them extremely briefly in late 2007 that was the first time I'd been there since about 2001 or maybe (at the very latest) 2004.

So my suspicion is that I was looking at a very early storyboard, possibly leaked by the original developers to drum up support.

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