In July 2013, the team at Guerilla Tea announced that they were working with Cancer Research UK on a new game which would use real world clinical research data.
Players would manipulate this data as part of the game, creating a huge virtual team, speeding up research and potentially providing a breakthrough in cancer treatment far more quickly.
The game, Play To Cure:Genes In Space was released this week, to great acclaim, with celebrity endorsement and has been picking up some serious press coverage, all around the world.
Play To Cure:Genes In Space is a fast-paced space shoot-em-up. Players must chart a course through a sector in space, collecting ‘element alpha’ on the way and blasting asteroids out of the ship’s path.
In reality, element alpha is genetic data, collected by Cancer Research from over 2,000 cancer patients in the UK and Canada. When players choose a route through space, they’re asked to navigate through the regions with the densest clouds of element alpha. In reality, the clouds are genetic data – and the route chosen will generate a new genetic pattern, which will allow researchers to look for hotspots in faulty genes, which could cause cancer.
Searching for these hotspots manually is enormously time-consuming. The hope is that with enough players, the game could shorten the time taken for research from months to a number of weeks.
Play To Cure: Genes In Space was launched in central London on February 4th by Cancer Research UK and comedian Dara O’Briain. The game has already picked up a HUGE amount of coverage from the world’s press. In addition to a who’s who of gaming media, many of the national newspapers, TV broadcasters and mainstream media have gushed about the unique nature of the game and the ground-breaking use of real world data to help cure a serious medical problem.
Play To Cure: Genes In Space is OUT NOW and available for iOS (Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod) and Android smartphones and tablets. It’s entirely free to play. No hidden charges, additional downloads or micro payments required.
The team at Guerilla Tea have created a simple, fun and accessible game, which should please new players and experienced gamers alike. As element alpha is collected, players can upgrade their ship, acquire new weapons, shields, engines and a fancy paint job.
To many people, games are still seen as a waste of time, or as digital toys with no real purpose. As the number of apps grows and the variety of experiences becomes ever more diverse, games offer entirely new opportunities for entertainment, education, research, healthcare, recreation and… so much more.
Hannah Keartland, in charge of the citizen science project at Cancer Research UK, said:
Every single second gamers spend playing our smartphone game directly helps our work to beat cancer sooner. Our scientists’ research produces colossal amounts of data, some of which can only be analysed by the human eye – a process which can take years.
We urge people to give two minutes of their time wherever and whenever they can – whether they’re on their daily commute or in the hairdressers having a blow dry. Together, our free moments will help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
In the meantime, you can find all of the nice things being said about the game on…
- Pocket Lint
- The Independent
- VG 247
- The Courier
- The Daily Mail
- The Daily Star
- Channel 4
- Pocket Gamer
- International Digital Times
Awesome work, guys…