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Agar.io brings massively multiplayer games to the petri dish

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Most massively multiplayer online games take place in epic fantasy worlds or the distant future, but one of the latest sensations takes place on a much, much smaller scale. Agar.io pits thousands of players against each other in a web-based petri dish, where each gamer represents a cell. Your only real goal is to grow larger than everyone else by swallowing other cells and dodging your bigger rivals. It sounds simple, but it can get very hectic -- and it's a good abstraction of the fierce survival-of-the-fittest competition that you sometimes see on the microscopic level.

Believe it or not, Agar.io is also oddly political for a game that's all about hungry blobs. As Kotaku notes, the title is already huge enough in Turkey (despite just weeks of availability) that political parties are using it as a symbol of their desires to grow and form alliances. And on the game's European server, players from multiple nations are known to gang up and fight other teams with rival political values. It's proof that any large-scale game with room for self-expression is bound to develop a complex culture -- in this case, a bacterial culture.

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