Play to Cure: Genes in Space (iStore & Google Play) is a shockingly addictive resource-gathering game, in which you play a pilot on the hunt for Element Alpha. This substance appears along a track in the form of clouds, which correspond with ticks on graphs of genetic data. It’s these graphs which Cancer Research UK need analysed, and so whenever a player plots a course across these graphs, or collects Element Alpha within the game, they are actively contributing to data analysis which furthers the fight against cancer.
I wrote my own recap of the game jam back in March – you can read that here. What’s interesting is that most of the games which came out of that 2-day hackathon followed this same pattern – treat the data as pockets of a desirable resource, and encourage players to follow a route which will always favour the largest clusters of data.
Myself, Hazel McKendrick and Mitch Svastisinha worked on a socially-driven pet-rearing game, in which the data was visualised fairly literally as clouds of genetic material. The player could mutate their creatures using this material, in order to compete in sports events. One team, however, did work on a space-based game with a rhythm action aesthetic, in which the player had to collect fuel from an abstracted race track formed of the same data.
It looks as though the game’s developers, Guerilla Tea, did a superb (and somewhat unenviable!) job of combining the results of our game jam and making a genuine pick-up-and-play, high score-chasing game for mobile devices. I’m intimidated now though, as I have to compete with Dara O’Briain for any high scores.
- Cancer Research UK Genes in Space ‘site
- My recap of #CRUKgame in March 2013
- Mobile game aids cancer researchers @ Independent.ie
- Smartphone game launched to ‘help beat cancer’ @ The Telegraph
- Play to Cure: Smartphone games to fight breast cancer @ BBC News
Screenshots taken on my own device – a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.