The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' --Isaac Asimov
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Bacteria! the video game (beta)

January 5th, 2014 by eric


Are you a microbiologist? Do you just play a lot of video games? I’m looking for suggestions for how to make the game more educational and fun. Let me know your ideas!

Already implemented:

  1. Physics — environmental parameters allow setting the viscosity and diffusivity of the environment by changing the Temperature and Salinity
  2. Respiration — you lose energy just sitting there, so go forth and forage
  3. Extracellular Enzymes — use these to access food particles that are too big to ingest. you gotta spend ATP to make ATP!
  4. Motility — run and tumble, run and tumble, ruuuuuuuuun and tumble. takes energy. also, damn it’s frustrating being a bacterium.
  5. Division — double your energy reserves and you automatically divide. when you die you are resurrected as one of your offspring
  6. Predators — watch out, the protists are coming!

Here is what I’m looking forward to adding:

  1. Viruses! — they can kill you, but every once in a while, you’re hit with a transducing phage and can access…
  2. Horizontal Gene Transfer! — this will allow upgrades like Chemotaxis, Antibiotics, Degradation Enzymes, Photosynthesis, Chemosynthesis, Nitrogen Fixation, Psychrophily, Thermophily, Barophily, Halophily, EPS production, Transformation, Conjugation, CRISPRs, Quorum Sensing, …
  3. Environments — seawater, sea ice, glaciers, hydrothermal vents, streams, soil, guts, teeth
  4. Species — play as Vibrio, Bdellovibrio, Prochlorococcus, Pelagibacter, or Pyrococcus!
  5. High Scores — but then, I’d first have to decide what the “goal” of life was and I don’t know if I’m ready to make such a strong statement!
  6. Music — wouldn’t a little ambient electronic music interpreted from DNA sequences really go with the mood of existential angst that permeates the lives of bacteria?

Built (somewhat painfully) in Stencyl.

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