I’ve often wondered what the future of Earth and its life forms will be like. Thinking back to what it was like before humans, the planet was inhabited by prehistoric creatures–among them were the earliest insects. In fact, insects were the most adapted for our planet, and (as you are well aware) they still exist today. So what will another few million years bring? In 2001, Nintendo gave its answer: Pikmin.
Pikmin is a strategy game based on a space pilot who crashes his ship and must regain all of the parts to it before he dies. He can only do so with the help of strange creatures called Pikmin, which are half plant, half animal. The game is amusing and challenging, but it took me several playthroughs to realize that I was running around in an environment that represented the view of Earth’s future–a future after humans.
What does this have to do with insects, you may ask? Actually, it has almost everything to do with insects. Almost all of the enemies the Pikmin encounter are based on insects; however, they are the futuristic version of a species (or combination of species).
The most common enemy in the game is the bulborb. There are several variations (orange, hairy, etc.), but all of them are nocturnal creatures that are scavengers. Sounds familiar, right? It’s not far off from the cockroach, which is also nocturnal and is a scavenger. The bulborbs are intelligent and cooperate with other enemies to protect themselves or find food- another behavior associated with cockroaches.
Another interesting species is the Beady Long Legs, which resembles a mechanical arachnid, but is in its own classification system in the game. The main character makes a note that the creature has only one body segment and has no need for an abdomen or head. Amazingly enough, this detail follows the rule that the insect locomotion area is the thorax. The Beady Long Legs kills Pikmin and other prey by sensing them with its feet and then crushing them. Strange how many insects also sense food with their feet and kill prey with their legs.
The list goes on, but you get the point. People have already started imagining the future for not just humanity, but insects too! How will insects adapt to the changes the Earth will undergo in the next century? Will they outlive us, the most advanced species on Earth? Only time will tell.