Genes in Space

Today, Cancer Research UK have launched the game which they and Guerilla Tea developed as a result of the #CRUKgame hackathon in March 2013.

Genes in Space

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.

#CRUKgame in flow at Google Campus in Shoreditch

#CRUKgame in flow at Google Campus in Shoreditch

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.

The player must simultaneously follow their flight plan, collect resources and deal with oncoming asteroids - all with abilities which can be upgraded

The player must simultaneously follow their flight plan, collect resources and deal with oncoming asteroids – all with abilities which can be upgraded between levels.

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.

Links

Screenshots taken on my own device – a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.