Looking for an easy-to-play, hard-to-master retro arcade game you can play in a web browser? Space Mermaids might just check that box for fans of XRP, which saw a legal victory this week as a U.S. federal judge ruled that Ripple’s XRP token sales were not securities—and are only securities when sold to raise funds from institutions.

But don’t worry, gamers—Gary Gensler isn’t hiding in this nostalgic arcade game.

Space Mermaids brings an ‘80s-inspired arcade screen to your computer with its bright colors, clear resolution, and fun animations. In the free-to-play game, which is best experienced full-screen with its electronic, club-like music on, you play as a pixelated mermaid with a trident whose goal is to collect as many stars as possible.

Arcade-style action


You’ll have to avoid an ever-increasing onslaught of asteroids, though, which come in a few different varieties on the vertically-scrolling map. Each gold star is worth one point, and rainbow stars are worth five points. When you hit an asteroid, you’ll have to try to collect red hearts to get your health bar back up to increase your chances of a high score.

Screenshot of Space Mermaids game showing 2D retro-style game screen with purplish-black space background. A pixelated mermaid floats on screen while grey asteroids and yellow stars surround her. A red health bar appears in the upper-right corner, indicating low health.
The Space Mermaids game. Image: Decrypt/Space Mermaids.

In just a few tries, I managed to achieve a score of 120 points, putting me at #139 on the leaderboard at time of writing. The game currently has top scores in the low 300s, which seems achievable if players move strategically and without panicking across the map. While the game only requires the use of arrow keys or the WASD keys, its challenges are motor reflex-oriented. Dodging asteroids of varying shapes and sizes that fall at different speeds will be easy for some, but much harder for others.


According to Space Mermaids’ website, top-scoring players will win a free Space Mermaids NFT on the XRP Ledger after the game’s “play-to-mint” competition ends on July 25. The NFT artwork hasn’t been officially revealed yet, however, and neither has the total number of NFTs in the collection.

My only gripe with the overall game experience was the time it took to download and set up Xumm, the XRP-compatible wallet. While that certainly isn’t the fault of the game makers, it is worth considering for those who don’t already have XRP wallets.

You’ll have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get your wallet set up if you want to collect an NFT—but the Space Mermaids website states that new wallets may be gifted 10 XRP (about $7) for the trouble, while supplies last.


Making waves

Space Mermaids’ creative director is Jessica “Ragzy” Ewud, a grant recipient of Ripple’s $250 million Creator Fund who is known for her visual art and appearance on the “LEGO Masters” TV show hosted by actor Will Arnett. 

“Space Mermaids came to me when I accidentally wound up on a beach in Montauk, New York on a hot summer day, fully dressed in my punk-like attire and high-knee boots,” Ewud told Decrypt in a message. “My excuse for looking this way was that I was an intergalactic Space Mermaid.”

Space Mermaids is one of a number of games in the fledgling XRP Ledger gaming ecosystem. The game was developed by a small team with Ewud at the helm. Ewud designed the playable mermaid character in the game, as well as the corresponding mermaid art for the upcoming NFT collection. After the mint, each mermaid NFT will become playable in the game.

“Each mermaid has 4,069 pixels. So it took a while!” Ewud said of the creative process. “CryptoPunks only have 576 pixels each.”

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