The Fermi Paradox Game

The Fermi Paradox is the absence of signs of the existence of alien civilizations, despite the fact that studies of the Universe tell us that they must exist. The Fermi Paradox is a computer game that offers everyone to see what problems are facing civilizations wishing to establish interstellar communication.

The Fermi Paradox game. Source:

The Fermi Paradox — a scientific problem and a computer game

The Fermi Paradox is one of the most intriguing problems of modern science. It was named after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, who in 1950 half-jokingly asked “Where is everyone?”, referring to alien civilizations that should arise in the Galaxy for billions of years of its existence.

Over the decades since this question was asked, scientists and just science enthusiasts have put forward many possible answers to it. In 2021, Anomaly Games released a computer game, The Fermi Paradox, dedicated to this problem.

The game is still in early access on Steam, so it is quite possible that it will still be finished. But even now, anyone can play it and try to bring different civilizations to peaceful contact.

The Fermi Paradox Gameplay

The Fermi Paradox is a turn-based game in which the development of the plot takes place through making decisions on the development of one of the civilizations. There are no dynamic actions in it that require a quick reaction, rather it needs a thoughtful analysis.

At first, the game forms a rather conventional, but unique galaxy, which actually consists of only a dozen star systems, in each of which we see only one planet, the one on which life can originate.

The player can open the description of the planet and read what it looks like. There are not only earth-like worlds here, but also deserts, icy oceans, labyrinths of desert canyons. And everywhere there is life that can potentially become intelligent.

The essence of the game is to click on the white circles reflecting a certain decision. Most of them are empty and just add points to the player. But some change the characteristics of civilization and affect further development.

From time to time, global events occur that significantly affect the course of the game. They also have to make a decision. For the best of them, you have to pay points, neutral ones usually do not need costs, and frankly bad ones can, on the contrary, bring a resource that can be used for something more interesting.

Development of civilizations

The first civilization enters a reasonable stage fairly quickly. It starts with complete savagery. For most civilizations, this is the Stone Age, but depending on the planet, more exotic options are possible.

Civilization in the game

For example, on Earth, where not only humans, but also dolphins and dinosaurs can become intelligent, the path traditionally lies through the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Age of Navigation. But the inhabitants of the icy ocean are learning to melt ice and use icebergs, and desert shrimp from Sirius use reinforced glass instead of iron.

Each civilization is shown rather conventionally as a set of scales. The most important of them is progress in achieving the next period of development. The second is the number of people who develop this science and consume resources.

This is followed by the actual resources that are shown in the game by a unique method. The player does not see their total number, but how many years they will last civilization. At first, this is not very important, but over time, the struggle with the shortage of uranium ore deposits or gas giants may become the main problem.

The global crisis in the game. Source:

The last two scales represent the peacefulness of civilization and its ethics. The first of them affects how often military conflicts will arise and how destructive they will be. The second affects the global nature of the game and how it will end.

Towards the singularity

Over time, there are more civilizations and you have to choose which one you need to make a decision about at this step. Upon reaching Industrial Temporary, all individual characteristics are erased and the path of civilizations becomes the same.

At this stage, they learn to send radio signals into space and receive them. But do not forget that they are separated by hundreds of light-years, and while the radio message will come from one planet to another, several epochs may change on them.

In the next era, atomic civilizations begin to send spacecraft to other stars. However, they also move very slowly and a lot of interesting things can happen to them on the way. Eventually, they reach their destination and then everything depends on what is there. Perhaps someone already lives there.

Have you ever thought how the aliens would perceive our signals? Source:

So by sending spacecraft and signals and founding colonies, civilizations are experiencing several subsequent epochs: digital, cyberpunk, solar and the speed of light. The last singular epoch, the name of which reflects the hypothetical moment of technological singularity, when the speed of development of civilization will become infinite, and the possibilities will be unlimited. 

But in order for the latest technology to become possible, it is necessary to bring not one, but several civilizations to the singular epoch. And only after that, one of them will develop ansible — a device for instantaneous superluminal communication, unite the galaxy into a single information network and … overcome the Fermi paradox in a way that depends on the current state of things.

Why should you play?

The Fermi Paradox does not contain animations, moving figures or just 3D graphics. All information about civilization is provided through text and pictures. And this is quite enough to get carried away with the game. 

We see how representatives of civilizations change as they make their way to the stars. The pictures have their own style and allow you to feel all the events taking place throughout the game: crises, wars, the creation of new pillars of civilization, sending signals into space and meeting with aliens.

Quotes in The Fermi Paradox are always appropriate. Source:

Each global event is accompanied by quotes. Sometimes these are the words of real inhabitants of the Earth, sometimes fictional figures of alien worlds. In any case, it is always appropriate and interesting. It’s worth playing this at least in order to realize that contact between two intelligent species is a moment when they rethink their entire history. 

The Fermi Paradox is a game that shows how really difficult the question “where is everyone?” is. Someone destroyed themselves in a nuclear war. Someone doesn’t want to answer. Someone else simply has no idea that there is a giant world outside the atmosphere. And someone has already achieved everything he wanted and is just waiting at the end of the story for the rest of the participants in the dialogue.

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