Coronavirus Game Lets Players Try To Create A Real-World Medicine

Published: Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 14:05 | By: Robert N. Adams
Decade-Long Research Project Prioritizes New Problems

The UW Center for Game Science has released a coronavirus game, but it isn't a standalone title. Unlike some of the asset flips or quick cash-ins that will probably pop-up any minute now, this brand-new puzzle challenge gives players the chance to help actually fight a real-world disease. No, really.

Check out this video update that announces the debut of this new puzzle for players to solve:

 
 

This might sound a bit silly, but the University of Washington has been running a project called Foldit for well over a decade now. This project essentially has players trying to play a puzzle game, but it's a little more important that matching three red blocks in a line to score a 200-point combo.

Instead, Foldit focuses on something called "protein folding", a biological process that... well, tries to fold proteins. I'm not going to go into Biochemistry 101 here (especially because I barely understand basic chemistry as it is), but here's the simple explanation of the idea: folding proteins in just the right way can make medication more effective. By crowdsourcing protein folding through a game, this coronavirus game could lead to an effective medication in the real world.

Foldit Coronavirus Game slice

How Can You Play This Coronavirus Game?

If you've got a good brain for puzzle games, you might want to take a crack at playing Foldit. How do you go about doing that? It's not that hard, thankfully.

  1. Register for a new account at the Foldit website
  2. Download the game for Windows, Mac, or Linux
  3. Open the game and log in
  4. Get to playing!

Unfortunately, you're going to have to progress through quite a few basic puzzles before you're able to try the coronavirus game aspect of Foldit, but it's still pretty darn fun if you like trying to solve some 3D brainteasers! Hopefully, Foldit's contribution will one day help make the coronavirus about as annoying as a bad cold.

Read more about how the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is affecting the gaming world at our Coronavirus Gaming Convention Cancellations and Game Delays Hub.

What do you think of Foldit's coronavirus game? Do you think they'll be able to find an effective medication through gamification? Let us know in the comments below!


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A photograph of Robert N Adams
Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!