September 12 – Want To Play A Game?

Today’s factismal: It is National Video Game Day. Want to play a game?

There is something that is just plain fun about video games. They may be as simple as creating life or as complex as dodging barrels thrown by giant apes, but they all take us away from the ordinary world for a brief time and let us be someone else. So naturally, there is a day celebrating all of the fun that video games give us.

But video games can do more than entertain; they can also help us research! (You knew I’d find a way to put citizen science in here, didn’t you?) For example, the game Phyllo helps researchers to identify the links between genes and diseases by letting citizen scientists play games with the DNA fragments. All you have to do to win is match the most colored blocks. (For some reason, people are better at this than computers. Take that, HAL9000!) You gain points for matches and lose them for places where the blocks don’t match. If you can do better than the computer, then your score goes up. To give the game a try, head over to:
http://phylo.cs.mcgill.ca/

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