September 1, 2014 (Vol. 34, No. 15)
Strong Points: Fun and engaging game
Weak Points: No scientific information provided about the underlying data
At first glance this space game does not appear to have anything to do with science, except for the fact that as a player you are an employee of Bitfrost Industries and your mission is to scour the galaxy collecting as much Element Alpha as you can. However, the “clouds” of Element Alpha through which players chart their course actually represent genetic data from cancer patients. Thus, as players identify the densest regions of “Element Alpha,” they are helping scientists identify potential hotspots or mutations in the genome that are strongly associated with cancer. As a game, Genes in Space is engaging and fun to play. On the science side of things, however, it would be nice if more details about the “cancer data” (as it’s simply referred to as) were provided.