Learning about Cells?…Play this Game!

I would like to introduce a game I recently found.  The game is called Axon, and it is meant to have people learn about neuron development and types of cells.  The way the game works is that you begin with a cell and then have to continue clicking the small dots around you before the current circle’s energy runs out.  This is meant to also simulate how neurons compete with other neurons for resources, since your developing brain is a very competitive environment.  It is actually a very addicting game: the music is fun, the game is simple enough and it is very easy to continue clicking those little dots.  The best part of it is that at the end it tells you how long your neuron was and what kind of cell it can be.  These are not exact, but obviously more complex cells come at higher points levels.  For example, my personal best of 63,000+ points gave me a cortical layer 3 cell, whereas when you only achieve a couple thousand points you get a retinal cell, which is nowhere nearly as complex.

This game really got me thinking about how you can teach biology concepts with games.  I had previously played physics games, but never biology.  For this reason, it was very interesting for me to actually learn about a topic I had never considered much throughout school.  Link is here: http://armorgames.com/play/13108/axon

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nick Berlage
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:59:43

    The concept for this game is kinda sorta on the right track, but in all honesty it is much more of a “joke” attempt at an educational video game. The only thing you do in the entire game is click dots before your “energy felid” becomes to weak to detect them. That’s literally all the happens. Once you stall out, the game tells you what kind of cell you created…great. So how is it educational? Get this…at the end of the game, the “type of cell” you have created through your mad man clicking abilities suddenly becomes a link to that cells wikipedia page. That’s worse than going to McDonald’s and ordering an organic salad with baby spinach and artichoke hearts…you’re in the wrong place buddy. The last thing gamers (especially the ones who find entertainment in a mindless game like Axon) want to do is read a wikipedia page about the fundamental aspects of neuroscience.

    Better luck next time ‘Armor Games’.

    Reply

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