Originally posted on Wellcome Collection blog:
Our new game Axon is now live. It accompanies our new exhibition, Brains: The Mind as Matter, which opens next week. In this fast-paced game, you must click on protein targets to grow your neuron, connecting new brain regions. Climb through the tissue, outcompeting rival neurons to form the longest connection you can.
Where our last game, High Tea, explored the history and culture of drugs with this one we wanted to get closer to the science. The ‘Brains’ exhibition provided just the right opportunity. We began the process last year, when we sat down with guest exhibition curator Marius Kwint, neuroscientist Richard Wingate and Phil Stuart and Chris Cox from Preloaded for a day of instense collaboration. We wanted to see if we could find a way to ‘play the brain’. Richard and Marius spent the morning showing us the neuroscience (including the extraordinary video of a foetal chick’s neurons forming that you’ll find in the game), and then in the afternoon Phil and Chris explained the structure of casual games and the relationship between goal, jeopardy and score. We discussed the role of competition in forming connections in the brain, and looked at other games whose aesthetic seemed to reflect what we’d seen in the video.