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Video Game Combines Art, Science, and Learning

  • October 8, 2014
  • By Jessica Guess     
Meta!Blast video game earns NSF’s SciVis People’s Choice Award.


It is 2051. Earth’s ecosystem is reverberating as some unknown pathogen decimates plant life. A team of expert scientists has inexplicably disappeared while investigating the cause. Can you rescue the lost team, discover what is killing the plants, and save the world?

This is the world of Meta!Blast, a computer game that recently earned the People’s Choice Award in the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. The game is directed by Eve Syrkin Wurtele, professor in Iowa State University’s Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, and a multidisciplinary team. Its objective is to engage undergraduate students in fundamental concepts of biology. It was also featured in Science magazine. Committee members from the National Science Foundation and Science screened 227 entries from 12 countries.

“The biology and chemistry in the game is as accurate as we are able,” Wurtele said. “We are active researchers in a fast moving field, and we continually add new discoveries, information, and gameplay.”

Read more here.