It’s just another day in the petri dish. I’ve collected enough free-floating mass that soon, if I want to keep growing my cell, I’ll need to start hunting other players. Suddenly, I spot some larger blobs in the corner of my screen.
“Free food,” I think to myself. “Nice.”
I use my mouse to bear down on the blobs, but it’s already too late—they were a trap set by a sprawling complex of green blobs, each far larger than I, all controlled by the same savvy player. He or she splits each of the green blobs in half, springing the new ones toward me and devouring me whole.
This is Agario, an explosively popular browser-based game that you’ve probably never heard of. If you did, chances are it was when Google released the most-searched terms of 2015: “Agar” was in seventh place—behind “Ronda Rousey” and “Paris,” but ahead of “Fallout 4.” Earlier this year, two separate political parties in Turkey riffed on the game in political ads.