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Learning Brain Science via Games and Gaming

March 25, 2012

There is a great article on Wired about Wellcome’s latest foray into gaming, Axon:

Most recently it has commissioned Axon, a game that accompanies the organisation’s Brains: The Mind as Matter exhibition, which starts on 29 March.Axon was developed through collaboration between neuroscientists and games developers Preloaded. The game challenges players to grow their neuron as long as possible; climbing through brain tissue, out-competing rival neurons and creating as many connections to distant regions of the brain as they can.

Martha Henson, Multimedia Producer at the Wellcome Trust, explained to “We sat down with a games design agency, a curator and a neuroscientist and tried to find out what rules govern what happens in the brain, particularly how neurons grow. We then turned those rules into game rules so that in the game the player grows a neuron using the same mechanisms that are used in actual neuron development. The result is a very fast-pace, clicky game with science behind it.”

Now yes, I do a lot of work with Wellcome, so I’m a bit bias but I’ve played the game and it is a great game; never mind all the science stuff; it’s just fun. However it also has great science behind it which makes it doubly cool. The game was the result of locking a brain scientist and some game developers in an a room and not letting any of them out until some great ideas emerged. It’s a good way to make games IMHO 😉

Axon game (Wellcome Trust/Preloaded) browser-based game


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