Fluid Games

Need a break from hardcore Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation? Then consider some free, casual fluid-themed games, such as Plasma Pong and flOw.

Plasma PongPlasma Pong

Plasma Pong

Imagine Pong, one of the earliest video games, awash in a colorful viscous fluid and you have Plasma Pong. The objective is still the same - move your paddle to bat a ball backwards and forwards to either another human or a computer-controlled opponent. However, marvel (but try not to be too distracted - after all you're playing to win, right?) at the effect your paddle and ball movement has on the fluid in the playing area. If you'd prefer to chill out you can also just stir the fluid (and change its properties) in a sandbox to admire the chaotic turbulence that ensues.

The game was developed by Steve Taylor while he was a student at George Mason University. The game solves simplified fluid flow equations in real-time using the GPU rather than the CPU, which holds promise for the speed up of industrial CFD simulations in the future.

Atari took offense at the use of the Pong name, which forced the Plasma Pong website to remove the game, but you can still find it at Fun-Motion.


flOw is another casual game with a fluid theme. You take on the form of an ocean-based creature trawling the sea (2D layers of it anyway) looking for food to help you grow and evolve. The game play progresses at your own pace, fast or slow. You can revisit easier levels (layers) or jump ahead (skipping layers) to harder levels. A free version of flOw was accessible as a browser-based game.

flOw ScreenshotflOw

flOw was developed by Jenova Chen of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. While still a student Chen was also responsible for Cloud, another game with a fluid theme.


Since graduating, Chen has formed a game studio (thatgamecompany), which is developing a new game called Flower and yes, you've guessed it, it's yet another fluid-themed gem. This time you will play the part of the wind in order to gather petals.


Games are Good for You

Still not convinced that games are for you? Then consider that a 2003 study conducted by the US Government's National Institutes of Health found that "Although video game playing may seem to be rather mindless, it is capable of radically altering visual attentional processing." Sounds good enough for me, how about you?