If you are a gamer then games like Deus Ex:Human Revolution, Splice or Pandemic will probably be common names to you. These are all titles of well regarded and successful video games, but more than that all of them are video games that draw ideas and inspiration from biomedical sciences.
Deus Ex:Human Revolution is about a future where cybernetic enhancement has become common and the ability of some to expand their flesh beyond the boundaries we are confined to and the social fractures that these developments bring. Splice is an artistic puzzle game where the player has to rearrange cells to create new biological forms. Pandemic is a board game, a browser game and the concept has mutated onto mobile, all themed around mass viral outbreaks that spread around the globe. From the cellular level up to the body expanding to a population, biomedicine provides each of these games with a deep pool of ideas, visuals and gameplay mechanics they can draw from. Putting science into games not only offers inspiration but also shows how it is a part of culture. The future scientists of tomorrow may well get their lifelong passion for the subject from the games they play today.
So with that firmly in mind, the Wellcome Trust has announced an exciting initiative for games developers. Developers are invited to apply for the chance to receive up to £10,000 each to develop a high-impact pitch for their game idea inspired by biomedical science. The ideas can draw on or be inspired by contemporary or historical biological or medical science but in an innovative and accessible way.
Those who are successful will go on to pitch their developed game ideas live to a panel of publishers and funders at a live event at Develop Conference in Brighton during July 2013. So far there are key panellists joining the Wellcome Trust from Sony Entertainment and crowd-funding platform Indiegogo.
If you or anyone you know is interested, the application process closes on 26th April - full details are here.
Image: A screenshot from the game Filth Fair, commissioned by the Wellcome Trust.