Games For Good
PC Gamer|Christmas 2020
How two projects are merging citizen science into our games
Ian Evenden

The idea of citizen science isn’t a new one. Amateur scientists have been making important discoveries as far back as Ug the Neolithic hunter and her ‘wheel’, while even Newton, Franklin, and Darwin were self-funded for part of their careers, and Herschel discovered Uranus while employed as a musician. It’s only from the late 20th century that it’s crystallised into what we know today, with the North American Butterfly Association using its members to count the popular winged insects since 1975. Zooniverse has users classify images to identify stellar wind bubbles, track coronal mass ejections, and determine the shape of galaxies. Then there’s Folding@Home and other cloud computing projects – they count too.

These citizen science projects are, essentially, experiments in human computation. You can even get paid for doing them through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk programme. What none of them involves, however, is playing PC games. And while sites such as Artigo (artigo.org unless you want a Portuguese flooring company) gamify things a bit by having you assign tags to paintings while paired with another player, scoring points when your tags match, it’s not exactly AAA.

Integrating science into a videogame is tricky. We recoil from anything labelled as ‘educational’, but there’s an opportunity here to do real good. Indeed, what started life as a project to map human proteins in EVE Online in 2016 has, via the classification of exoplanets in 2017, come right down to Earth with a project to detect and measure the chemical characteristics of cells – known as flow cyclometry – which has a bearing on the body’s response to COVID-19. EVE calls this Project Discovery, and you access it by clicking the logo in the Neocon menu. Take part, and you can earn exclusive cosmetic customisations for your EVE character.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PC GAMERView All

RUNESCAPE

Nearly two decades old, it has never stopped growing.

8 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

TRYING TO BE JUST AND PIOUS IN CRUSADER KINGS III PART II

Nicety and piety are leading to calamity.

9 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

LIGHT IT UP

WARHAMMER 40,000: DARKTIDE is coming, so grab your torch and chainsword

10+ mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

LONDON BRAWLING

Liberate the city with buskers and beekeepers in WATCH DOGS LEGION.

7 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

VIKING INVASION

ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA is the best Assassin’s Creed to date.

7 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

RAINBOW SIX SIEGE

Hands-on with the final season, Operation Neon Dawn.

3 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

COPYCAT?

Woman says LEAGUE OF LEGENDS character is based on her, Riot denies it

2 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

HACK THE PLANET

MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR modders imagining a better Earth

4 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

DOOM SCROLL

How id Software reclaimed its history by losing its leaders

5 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021

BOOK OF TRAVELS

Adventure in a world where you’re not forced to be the hero

6 mins read
PC Gamer
January 2021
RELATED STORIES

Save Valentine's Day ... by Avoiding These Games

Dating can be a difficult process. Traditionally, two people might chit-chat over drinks or dinner, then spend two hours in a darkened theater ignoring each other. This is not the most effective means of getting to know someone. A shared activity is a better way to share the real you with someone else.

9 mins read
Casual Game Insider
Winter 2021

How ‘Warcraft III' Became A Great ‘Lord Of The Rings' Game

It doesn’t get discussed as much as ‘Defense of the Ancients,’ but ‘Warcraft III’ had a surprising symbiosis with ‘The Lord of the Rings’—one that’s worth revisiting.

6 mins read
PCWorld
March 2020

The Hotlist: Best Games And Apps From 2019 Revealed

With Apple inviting the world’s most prolific developers to an exclusive Media Event in New York City to honor the best iOS apps and games of 2019, we take a closer look at the winners and reminisce on one of the most exciting years in the history of the App Store…

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
December 13, 2019

Hosting A Party?

Have one of these games on hand.

7 mins read
Casual Game Insider
Fall 2019

Watch Dogs Legion

One of the most impressive E3 demos I’ve played in years

6 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
October 2019

Steam's Long-Awaited Library Overhaul: Salvation For Your Massive Game Collection

You can opt in to the open beta starting September 17—and you’re going to want to.

6 mins read
PCWorld
October 2019

24 Hours With … Jeff Probst

It’s been 19 years—and nearly 40 seasons—since Survivor host Jeff Probst first snuffed out a tropical torch with a solemn “The tribe has spoken.” Here, he shares his typical day in paradise.

4 mins read
CBS Watch! Magazine
September - October 2019

4 Exciting Games To Look Forward To In 2019

So far, 2019 has been a stellar year for games, from the punishing difficulty of Sekiro to the demon-slaying combo-filled joy of Devil May Cry 5 to the controller gripping suspense and zombie-infested remake of Resident Evil 2. But we are only halfway through the year and these are the 4 games of 2019 we are most excited about.

2 mins read
Playboy South Africa
September 2019

The Chinese Room

On the long, transformative walk from research team to videogame studio

9 mins read
Edge
October 2019

Valve's Intriguing ‘Steam Labs' Experiments Help You Find New Games In A Sea Of Releases

Gabe Newell, the Science Guy.

5 mins read
PCWorld
August 2019