A recent press release from the US Navy reveals that it is training sea lions to play video games and introduces us to Spike, who was the last of three male sea lions to be introduced to gaming, but the first to train on a game system devised by US Navy scientists.
Don’t worry, we won’t be seeing sea lions involved in drone attacks anytime soon, as it seems US Navy scientists are more focused on seeing the effect of games on enriching marine life.
We are also told that Spike is not even this sea lion’s real name. He has become such a gamer that we should think of him more as his gamertag than anything else. Apparently, Spike and his fellow sea lions have made quite a breakthrough in proving a new method of cognitive enrichment that scientists can use to keep marine life happy and healthy for longer.
The simple video games that allow sea lions to use their eyes and snouts to play are known as Enclosure Video Enrichment (EVE). Kelley Winship, NMMF scientist and principal investigator for research using the EVE system, said of the effect the system had on animals: “I really care about these animals and the lives they lead. I love all the cool things we can look at with this research, but ultimately I want to see them happy and enjoying themselves.”
At this point, it seems clear that Spike and his gamer friends are enjoying their time playing these simple games. It will be a long time before we see a sea lion in our Call of Duty lobbies, but it is good to know that they are having a great time, even with simplistic games.