Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Science in Gaming

I’ve become increasingly interested in the portrayal of science, particularly microbiology, in the media. This is an issue I intend to explore across a series of blog posts. I decided to start with looking at science in gaming. The picture shows Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory with his game “Research Lab”- where the physics is theoretical but the fun is real! Sadly the fun isn’t really real as the game doesn’t actually exist (yet).
Anyway, there are lots of games where one plays as a soldier, cop/detective, criminal, etc. How about games where one can play as a scientist? And specifically as a microbiologist? 
A very few come to mind-

Pandemic is a great board game. In Pandemic you try and save the world from a series of disease outbreaks- battling to contain the pandemics to give yourselves enough time to race for the disease cures. So, just like my job every day :)

In Half Life of course you play as the crowbar-wielding theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman. I haven't come across any games yet with crowbar-wielding microbiologists.

Um, struggling to come up with anything else. Mordin Solus is probably my favourite character in Mass Effect- well along with Garrus.

Now, there’s no shortage of evil Mad Scientist Villains in games, but can anyone think of other games where one can play as a scientist? Or in which scientists are portrayed in a positive manner?

1 comment:

  1. I've had a few email responses to this post from friends in Melbourne.

    Zik sent me this link
    which I found very interesting and I guess emphasizes my point that there are few positive representations of science (particularly biotechnology) in gaming

    Judy pointed that you can play the boardgame Arkham Horror as either a scientist or a researcher (which I should have remembered since Arkham Horror along with Pandemic are the most frequently played games in my house)

    Mary pointed out the Professor Leyton series of computer games (which I had never heard of, but her daughter plays). A quick check by me on wikipedia suggests the main character is an archaeologist.