All video game conventions should happen near an aquarium


Toronto doesn’t disappoint

You don’t necessarily flock to a video game convention expecting to see fish, but if someone makes the offhand suggestion to hit up a nearby aquarium and the pitch has time to simmer, before you know it, you’re committed to spending $35 per person to see some real good fish (but not an extra $2 between three people to get a brochure with tantalizing fish facts). This week, a few of us at Destructoid found our way to Toronto, home of tasty food, friendly faces, decked-out gaming bars, a certain towering concrete monument that mesmerizes out-of-towners, and the Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo.

When we noticed there was an aquarium right next door to EGLX, Chris, Brett, and I knew we had to drop in before the weekend was up. When I saw it was specifically Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, I had a secret side mission: to also check out some little mummies and various dubious-at-best artifacts.

We saw a lotta cool animals on the excursion and you better believe I found my mummies. Video games and aquatic life? An unexpectedly great pairing. Sometimes silly ideas escalate before you fully think them through and you just have to roll with ’em. With that in mind, here are Destructoid’s favorite fish.

Natural camouflage is remarkable but also unsettling to think about

It’s fish like these that make me anxious about haphazardly setting foot in the ocean.

Piranhas are good as hell, actually

We tend to overly assign human characteristics to objects and animals, but c’mon. Look at that face!

This photo doesn't do the yellow scales justice

No one else really took notice of this fish, but I’d go to bat for it any day of the week.

One of the more unusual species at Ripley's

This outlandish fish right here is why we go to aquariums.

A relatively rare sight

As soon as we saw lobsters, Brett wondered if there was a blue one. Yep, there was a blue one.

I want to see one of these molt

Your eyes will be drawn to the Big Boy, but do not neglect the Lil Guy nicely perched nearby.

The octopus was understandably camera shy

I wasn’t so sure we’d be able to spot an octopus. Even this side of it was wild to see in person.

I can't stop thinking about this slowpoke

Chris said this looked like something outta Dark Souls.

My favorite photo of the trip

The aquarium had no shortage of rays.

"I've seen some stuff, kid."

Some fish just pull off that effortless don’t-eff-with-me look.

Astonishing, but invasive

Nature’s classic “you probably don’t want to touch me” pattern.

Evolution has done wild things with fish eyes

I respect any animal that doesn’t want to be photogenic.

Some fish know how to strike a pose

Check out this absolute lad.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada had assorted jellies

My Nicolas Winding Refn moment.

Low-key, this was my favorite species I'd never seen before

The most huggable creature in the whole dang place.

Clownfish and blue tangs look great together

It goes without saying, but kids sure do love these Pixar-popularized species.

The tunnel of fish

One of the best parts of the Toronto aquarium was a winding tunnel that lets you fishgaze to your left, right, and even above you. The layout allowed for some dramatic angles and memorable moments.

Say cheese and die

Here’s one example!

Sawfish are such a trip

And another!

Fish cleaned off the sea turtle

Meanwhile, the resident sea turtle just wanted to chill.

Little-known fact: it's hard to photograph seahorses!

You can’t really have an aquarium without seahorses.

The electric eel demonstration was a crowd favorite

Brett did the honors by touching the tingly “electric eel” simulation.

The electric eel was shy

…I don’t think he was amused.

Cuttlefish are best seen in motion

The flamboyant cuttlefish is an all-time great. They’re surprisingly tiny, and while it was hard to capture their beauty inside a tank, they’re so dang precious. I was beyond excited to see them in real life.

Frogfish are well-named

This guy is decidedly on-brand for Ripley’s.

Putting the Ripley's in Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

This feels like a cursed image.

Spider-Man envisioned as an octopus

Spider-Octopus is my contractually-obligated loosely-related gaming tie-in for this article.

Ripley's lost gold stash

The veritable treasure you’d need to afford aquarium-themed merchandise. Bless the person who came up with the idea of always putting the exit on the other side of the shop so kids have to walk through.

Ceiling mummies at Ripley's

Two genuine, bona-fide, electrified ceiling mummies. The boys doubted me, but I knew they existed.

[Disclosure: EGLX is hosted by Destructoid’s parent company Enthusiast Gaming.] [Additional reporting by Brett Makedonski.] [Very good idea to visit an aquarium suggested by Chris Carter.]