Archive for August, 2010

Gatama Atoll, Row 6


Now it’s time to hunt down all those fish I’ve been missing. As of now, there are still about 40 species left to discover, at least a third of which are located somewhere in Gatama Atoll. I really hadn’t been back to the placid waters of Gatama Atoll for quite awhile, and then it was in my “hurry up and finish the map” days when I didn’t take my time to explore carefully.

On my first attempt I tried bringing Hayako along, starting at square A1 and going left to right, north to south. Didn’t work. I don’t know what kind of range Hayako’s fish-dar’s got, but it isn’t much. We wound up hopping from coral head to coral head with the map spread out in front of us, scrolling through each species until we found the triple question marks we sought. It was like trying to tour your vacation spot with a road atlas open on the steering wheel—frustrating and no fun atoll (heh heh). After about five minutes I was ready to quit, so I did.

Clearly a new strategy was in order. Luckily at some point in the game the Marine Encyclopedia began revealing where each undiscovered species can be found—you just have to click on the magnifying glass icon and flip through the maps. Paging through the encyclopedia, I drew up a list of every creature I hadn’t found, noting the map coordinates where it could be located, so that it looked something like this:

Coral Reef Life 46/48

  1. Gatama Atoll E4, F4, F6
  2. Ciceros Strait A1, D1, E5

And so on. You may ask yourself, how is this funner than roving from square to square, left to right, top to bottom? I can only answer that I’m a compulsive list maker. When my wife saw me on the couch with my clipboard and printed-out list of coordinates, she really knew I’d gone off the deep end.

Judging from my list, I could see that most of the Gatama creatures I sought were concentrated on the southern portion of the map. So I would start at Row 6, Column G and work my way right to left; when I got into a target square, I’d keep my eyes open. It helped to take Oceana along, with her ability to find small creatures. This turned out to be just the ticket: within minutes I was crossing fish off my list like crazy.

I also encountered a lot of really cool stuff.  Just falling out of the boat, we blundered straight into a cuttlefish breeding frenzy. We were treated to some fascinating facts about cuttlefish, and invited to return in a few weeks when the eggs hatch.

Next we went on shore at G7 to discover the diminutive little penguin.

Little penguin mistakes my gear for a big penguin.

Back under water and a short swim to the west we find the charmingly named Randall’s pistol shrimp, sharing a foxhole with his faithful watchman goby.

Randall and his attack goby.

Then the psychedelically attired warty frogfish.

Closer to the blue cliff, we find a bluelashed butterflyfish, guarding another suprise.

Wandering around a bit more, Oceana and I found razorfish, rippled rockskippers, bluespotted jawfish, and finally, after much meticulous  searching, the weedy seadragon.

Overall, not a bad start to an animal safari.


What’s next?


Now that the Cavern of the Gods has been reopened, it’s time to start thinking about what else needs to be done. It’s not easy in an open-ended game like this to decide when you’re really finished, yet finish I must. It’s not like I’m sick of Blue World, but I would like to try some other things that are out there—like reading, and spending time with my actual family, and going outdoors now and then. So here’s a list of what I want to accomplish before I put EO back on the shelf for awhile:

  • Finding all the fish, including the legendaries. There are 41 species still left to be discovered, and until every shadow in the book has been colored in, the game’s not over. I’d also like to get all the information on each one, no matter how much I have to feed them, tickle them, or take their pictures.
  • Befriending all the dolphins—even the ones who are hogs for gifts. I don’t want Finley haunting me.
  • Training them’s not high on my list, however.
  • Finishing all the major quests, especially chasing that @&$% blue bird to earth.

As for some of the other things, I’m not so keen on completing them. If in my travels I find all the coins—great—but I’m not going to comb the seafloor looking for spare change. Getting a few more magazine covers—maybe. One million visitors at the aquarium—meh. Another million pelagos—not bloody likely.

Getting every single one of the titles—never gonna happen.


In an effort to get the Commerson’s Dolphin in the Cavern of the Gods to be my new partner, I looked carefully through Nancy’s catalog for two things that might be symbols of protection. It wasn’t easy—I wanted to find just the right thing for my lady. I finally settled on a charm and an amulet, and bought them with Pelagos I’d been saving from my little part-time job in the islands. Then I flew halfway across the world back to Zahhab, found the Echoing Terrace, entered the Stone Cavern, up the stairs up the Pillars of Light into the Celestial Mausoleum, to the god’s golden chamber to lay the symbols of protection lo! at my lady’s feet…

And now she wants something else.

Poof! go all my chivalrous notions. Oh, I can see where this is going—I’ve been there before. If I bring her what she wants now, next she’ll want something more. Guys: Women—amiright?!

So rather than use my frequent flyer miles going back and forth to Nineball Island with giftboxes on my knees, I decide to buy everything from Nancy that comes with a bow on it (after all, it’s not like I need that money for anything now). Then I return to the Cavern with the whole papa’s brand new bag. I gave her everything I had—it took a few minutes of automated demands and exchanges, during which I got up and got a beer from the fridge. Finally, she was satisfied enough to allow me to be her partner. When it came time to name her, I was tempted to call her something like “Miss Fussy,” but, perhaps softened by the grace of our friendship dance, I decided to call her Kee Kyu.