Andy Nealen's Osmos Game on "The Simpsons"

On April 6, over 4.3 million viewers watched as Milhouse had his iPad stolen on "The Simpsons." When he finds it in Bart's possession and begins to confront him, he is entranced by “the music of this bubble game.” Osmos, the game’s real name, was developed by Hemisphere Games and Andy Nealen, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Professor Nealen currently focuses his research on game design, computer graphics, and non-photorealistic rendering.

Osmos, available on iPad, Android, and Linux (among others), focuses on a “mote” or a floating being. The goal of the game is to propel the mote into smaller motes to absorb them. Colliding with a larger mote causes the player to be absorbed into the larger mass and a game over message. The game relies on the concept of conservation of momentum; a mote is controlled by expelling mass in one direction and moving in the opposite direction, much like a rocket. However, with every movement, the mote shrinks in size. The “bubble game” was the iPad Game of the Year in 2010 and named the Best Video Game Soundtrack of 2010 by IGN.

The episode is currently available online