What you need to know
- A research project tested the ability of pigs to play video games.
- In the study, four pigs were taught how to use joysticks.
- The pigs continued to play the game even after a food dispenser broke.
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," said the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm. It's unlikely that those pigs were referring to their video game prowess, but maybe they should have been. Scientists taught four pigs how to play video games in a recent study (via the BBC). The results of the study suggest that even though they had to use their noses to play, the pigs are capable of playing joystick-operated games.
The pigs, named Hamlet, Omelette, Ebony, and Ivory, were trained to operate a joystick. The game involved the pigs doing the SIDE task, which involves using a joystick to move a cursor to a target wall.
During the experiment, a food dispenser broke at one point. As a result, the pigs couldn't be rewarded with food for completing a task. Despite this, they continued to play while being encouraged by researchers.
While most gaming devices are designed to be used with people's hands, the pigs had to use their noses. The study suggests that animals may benefit from touchscreens.
The results show that the pigs performed "significantly above chance," which suggests that they weren't just randomly moving the joystick around.
You don't have to worry about pigs beating your high score in your favorite game any time soon. The study notes that "despite performing above chance on the SIDE task, even the pig that performed best did not approach the level attained by non–human primates that acquired the task after a comparable number of trials."
In fact, none of the pigs met the criteria of the SIDE task. But to be fair to the pigs, the task was designed for animals with more dexterity. In addition to having to use a joystick without hands, some of the pigs were also restricted by mobility.
Since the pigs already learned how to use a joystick, maybe scientists could teach them to play Angry Birds.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.