I have, in my day, been something of an amateur aquarist, but I never thought to provide my fish with a pastime like playing Pokemon. One intrepid Twitch user has done just that, programming an interface that interprets their fish’s swimming habits as button presses on a virtual controller for the original Red/Blue version of Pokemon.
The fish is a betta (or ‘Siamese fighting’) fish, the decorative, brightly colored popular pet store variety that actually originates from the Mekong basin and calls standing waters including rice paddies their home. The fish is less than skilled at Pokemon, and despite having logged around 130 hours, he hasn’t done much. But he has actually participated in and won at least one battle, which is impressive given his brain is tiny compared to his body size.
Some science trivia reveals that bettas will actually show a preference for self-control in exchange for longer time in front of a mirror, however (opting for a 15 second delay between sessions in exchange for a full 15 seconds of mirror time, vs. immediate gratification in exchange for just 2 seconds of mirror access). Maybe that means this fish, who is named Grayson Hopper, has some dim awareness of his burgeoning Internet celebrity status.
In any case, Grayson is a lot more capable than your average Magikarp.