One of the most exciting things about the games industry is the fact that it’s being used for more than princess rescue, coin collection and blowing things up in ever more photo realistic detail.
More and more often companies from outwith the games sector are realising that games, game mechanics and gaming experiences can be extended beyond the merely entertaining, to have an impact in the real world.
Earlier this year, Cancer Research UK worked with Dundee’s Guerilla Tea to release Play To Cure: Genes In Space. An intergalactic mining game in which player’s plotted a course across space, using real-world clinical data, to speed up research into a cure. In the first month of release, the game managed to analyse the equivalent of six months of data.
Now Cancer Research UK is back – along with Channel 4 and Glasgow’s Chunk Games, with a brand new game, Reverse The Odds, which gives researchers access to one of the most dedicated, imaginative, intelligent and passionate audiences in the world – gamers.
Commissioned by Channel 4 for Stand Up To Cancer, a joint national fundraising campaign from the broadcaster and Cancer Research UK, Reverse The Odds asks players to analyse images of real cancer cells to help researchers to extract vital information.
Gamers are on a mission to use their cell evaluation to revitalise tiny creatures called The Odds. The game’s story tells of a girl who lives in a magical world populated by these creatures who become grey and lifeless when she becomes tired. Players must conquer each level and restore the world from a washed out wasteland to an amazing colourful wonderland.
Data taken from the game will be used by Cancer Research UK and fed back to research teams to understand cancer and find new ways to beat cancer sooner. Individuals don’t need to worry about getting their analysis wrong however – as a crowd-sourcing application, the accuracy of the results comes from lots of people looking at each sample and no-one’s diagnosis or treatment can be affected by anyone’s actions.
Reverse The Odds, is completely FREE to download across iOS, Android, Amazon phones and tablets. Players progress through different levels by answering questions such as how bright the cells they see are, or counting a particular type of cell.
Colin McDonald, Games Commissioning Editor for Channel 4, says:
It’s great to see an increasing number of “games for good” that support and aid a wide variety of issues, but the opportunity to let individual players make such a direct and positive impact on cancer studies whilst still having fun is absolutely incredible – I hope to be seeing more people contributing to cancer research then merely “killing time” on their commutes from now on!
Hannah Keartland, Citizen Science Lead at Cancer Research UK , says:
We’re thrilled to have worked with Channel 4 to produce a truly unique puzzle game that’s not only great fun to play, but also allows gamers to make a direct impact on research to beat cancer sooner. With colossal amounts of data being produced by our scientists’ research, getting through the data can take years, especially as some can only be analysed by the human eye. That’s why we’re always looking at innovative ways to get the public involved in this critical process. Now, Reverse The Odds gives anyone the chance to help our scientists get through this data via their mobile devices. So no matter where you are, your gaming moment could start having a real impact.
You can find more information about the game, including links to ALL of the download sites over on the Channel 4 website: http://www.channel4.com/reversetheodds
It’s free. It will work on your device. It will HELP people. Go play the game…
Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer – a night of live television hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen takes place on October 17th 2014. In 2012 when the event was last run, it raised a total of £8,011,722.62. You should watch that too.
Reverse The Odds (iOS – App Store) – FREE
Reverse The Odds (Android – Google Play) – FREE
Reverse The Odds (Android – Amazon) – FREE