Saturday, November 11, 2006

Excellent Educational Serious Game

Immune Attack is an educational video game funded by the National Science Foundation and jointly developed by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Brown University, and the University of Southern California. It teaches immunology in a fun and engaging way that is different from the traditional classroom setting.

Immune Attack is a first person strategy PC video game that teaches immunological principles through entertaining game play. The protagonist, a teenaged prodigy with a unique condition in which the immune system is “present, yet non-functional”, must pilot a microscopic nanobot to save his own life. He must teach his semi-functional immune system to fight off diseases and bacterial/viral infections by programming individual cell types. 

This programming is accomplished through the successful completion of various educational minigames, each of which teach a central immunology principle and, once completed, confer added ability to the selected cell type.

The game is set in different biologically realistic tissue structures, with the nanobot being able to latch onto and control certain cells. A growing array of controllable cell types and programmable commands are available to the hero as he progresses through the game. Play is split up into several levels, which feature increasingly difficult infections or diseases to overcome. A level is completed upon achieving certain goals – usually the eradication of the infection or disease. Immune Attack’s initial release will include only two levels, but the final game will have many more, and possibly a multiplayer option.

Educational content is conveyed via three means:

1. Through interactions with the environment and characters within the game, such as the various cell types

2. Through minigames which have the user perform certain tasks which occur naturally in the immune system
3. By use of "My Learning Assistant", or MyLA, a built in question and answer tool which can answer questions and offer explanations using both an included knowledge database and an information messaging system
Immune Attack is not yet available for download. When it does become available, we will send out an e-mail to all those who have expressed interest in the game.