Who doesn’t love a good video game?
Video games have been a favorite pastime of folks young and old for decades. Our culture’s fascination with the industry has exploded with the dawn of smart phones; gaming on the go can keep commuters occupied during their travels, combat boredom for youngsters and help gamers develop hand-eye coordination.
New software is now taking the benefits of video gaming to the next level.
Play to Cure™: Genes in Space transports users to an intergalactic universe where they put their gaming skills to the test — all while providing help for cancer patients.
From fantasy to reality
Genetic cancer data, which can provide the backbone for new cancer treatments, would take scientists countless hours to pore over but Play to Cure relies on a crowdsourcing model to significantly cut that time.
Gamers are tasked with collecting “Element Alpha,” an imaginary space dust that tech wizzes created to represent genetic cancer data. As users map a route through the space dust and fly their way through the game, the software is analyzing the genetic data on the back end.
In fact, this is the world’s first free mobile game that relies on the public to assist in the fight against cancer. As the makers said in a film about the game: “You don’t have to wear a lab coat to help beat cancer sooner.”
Who are the folks behind this pioneering innovation?
The idea for the game was born in just one weekend, during GameJam. The best of the best techies — from Cancer Research UK, Amazon Web Services, Facebook and Google — got together in March 2013 to develop games that could help scientists translate data. For two days, the participants ate, slept and breathed nothing but gaming, with the work forming the basis for Play to Cure.
The game went on to be developed by Dundee, Guerilla Tea and Cancer Research UK, with funding from The Rational Group.
While this is pioneering research, it’s not the first time Cancer Research UK has produced a video game designed to provide help for cancer patients; its Reverse the Odds and The Impossible Line also give the public the power to help make fantasy a reality.