More than half a million players from above 100 nations, media coverage from US through Europe to Asia – the game Sea Hero Quest and the idea of playfully supporting Alzheimer research gain supporters all around the world.
It seems like Telekom and its partners firmly has the finger on the pulse combining gaming and do good.
Waiting for the bus, boredom at school or work, a lack of excitement at a birthday party for a distant relative – what do these situations all have in common? Many of us reach for our smartphones whenever we start feeling bored – we do that in just a split second. In addition to Facebook, Twitter and other social media, I usually resort to smartphone games when I have too much time on my hands. Quiz Duel, Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga – today's app stores have all kinds of gaming options, and most games are so designed that it is worthwhile playing them, even if you only have a few minutes to spare.
Now, just think what it would be like to support a good cause with every minute you spend playing a game? That's almost like gambling without having a guilty conscience! Well, that is exactly what you can do with Sea Hero Quest. Just imagine: Playing the game for two minutes is equal to five hours of Alzheimer laboratory research – while waiting for the bus you can support five hours of scientific research! Now that sounds really cool! And in the classroom, just think of the impression you'll make: "No, professor, I'm not playing with my smartphone – I'm supporting Alzheimer research."
This is possible because Sea Hero Quest captures anonymous data from users. When I play the game and navigate my ship through exotic worlds in order to revive my father's lost memories (he is one of so many afflicted with dementia), Sea Hero Quest evaluates my moves on the game map. The data of all those playing the game is compiled to create a profile of our spatial orientation. This provides a huge pool of comparative data for empirical studies that scientists would normally need years to collect. Quite often limitations in spatial orientation are one of the first signs of dementia. Sea Hero Quest enables players to give researchers insights that may help them develop a method of detecting dementia at an early stage. The data is gathered in German data centers. In cooperation with University College London, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Glitchers and the University of East Anglia hopefully a major breakthrough in the battle against dementia can be made.
Collecting data for a good cause
Although Sea Hero Quest is a fun and challenging game, the ultimate goal is to generate valuable data for scientific research. Please remember that this data remains anonymous and is used exclusively for research purposes – the regulations are very strict. This is not the case with many other popular games and apps on the market which have your data captured without telling you and possibly even sell it or annoy you with pop-ups advertising.
Without any advertising, but with lots of challenging and fun game levels, I have found Sea Hero Quest to be quite entertaining – the best thing to do is play the game yourself and enjoy the fun. You'll be helping a good and worthy cause at the same time!
What's more, we welcome comments about this gaming experience. Just give us your feedback. The game download and more details are available on the official website: http://www.seaheroquest.com/de/