There have numerous initiatives aiming to deploy gamification principles to scientific endavours in recent years. I’ve written about a few of these games on the blog before, with Phylo produced by McGill in a bid to increase the understanding of genetic research. Eyewire is a similar effort, this time produced by MIT, that aims to further understanding of neuroscience. Both have proved pretty successful, generating well over 100,000 players each in a short space of time.
Arguably the most powerful however is a game called EteRNA that aims to get citizens carrying out experiments on the folding behaviours of RNA molecules. This game is unique in that it connects gamers with an actual biochemistry lab.
What each of those efforts have in common is that they use games to engage players in proper scientific research, with the results significantly boosting understanding. A slightly more light hearted use of games in the scientific world emerged recently courtesy of pharma company Eli Lilly, who released an online game called Destination Discovery.
The game is less about helping scientific research as supporting understanding of the research process. Players begin the game by receiving background information on the drug development process. Once they have selected their character from the six available, you are on your way, charting your journey across the board via rolls of a dice. After each turn you answer a question about the drug development process, with each one accompanied by links for the player to learn more on the topic.
It isn’t the most challenging of games, and the shelf-life of playing it may be rather short, but it might provide a relatively easy and simple way for people to gain a bit more insight into the drug development process.Original post