Deus Ex: Medical Revolution

Tomas has an article over on the Wellcome Trust's blog on the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution:

If, like me, you’re a gamer then you probably already know of the release of the hugely anticipated action game ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘. If you’re not quite so geeky then let me introduce it – the game is a prequel to one of the most highly rated video games of all time, ‘Deus Ex’. Both games are a fusion of concepts; the cyberpunk ideas of William Gibson’s Neuromancer; age-old conspiracy theories; global pandemics; dystopia futures; and the upheaval of rapid technology development.

The original game received huge praise for the depth of its narrative and the excellent game that allowed players to solve problems and puzzles by means other than combat, such as stealth or dialogue. This game also featured a number of overarching biomedical themes, including a deadly virus called ‘Gray Death’ that had ravished the human population and the shortage of the vaccine that fights it.

Crucial to both the gameplay and story of Deus Ex was the idea of nanotechnologically-augmented human beings. The exploration of transhumanism and augmenting the human body far beyond our genetic heritage – with its technological ‘hows’ and the ethical ‘whys’ – are also critical elements of the current game. ...

Read the full article here.

Develop Panel Post on Wellcome's Blog

Tomas has written a follow-up post about the Develop Conference event for Wellcome's blog:

Our panel brought together an eclectic group of people representing different facets of gaming. We had the outgoing Channel 4 Commissioning Editor for Education and founder of Makielab, Alice Taylor, Demis Hassabis, games developer and neuroscientist (and Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow), Phil Stuart of Preloaded and industry veteren Jez Harris.

We looked at how games can talk about the bigger questions, morality and mortality. Preloaded gave us a preview of their new game The End, which looks at the biggest question of all: death. The panel also explored the issues around how the brain deals with the new technologies of games and gaming and what impact it might be having on development (though we reached no clear consensus on this).

Also discussed was how best to design games that are more than just fun – that impart knowledge and question assumptions. The consensus was that this is already being done with many games, but fun must still be the driving force! Games are a good way to talk with an audience about such topics, in part because they are interactive and so give the player an opportunity to explore.