A team of researchers from Newcastle University has developed a game app with BBSRC funding which teaches players about the challenges facing an ageing population.
"Apocalypse Lab" was developed by business development manager Jo Ennis, PhD student James Wordsworth and research assistant Mohammad Yadegarfar who work at the university's Institute for Ageing and Health.
Using funding won via BBSRC's Excellence with Impact (EWI) competition the team worked with games company XTC Arts to produce Apocalypse Lab.
The object of the game, which is aimed at players aged 8+, is to save the human race from extinction by investing in ageing research. This research is then sold to other countries in order to increase the life expectancy and the general health of the global population.
Along the way gamers learn about the real scientific studies on ageing and the factors associated with healthy life expectancy. They must also fight against the renegade 'Iron Wrinkles' an organisation that tries to prevent you succeeding in your mission.
The app was unveiled at the British Science Festival in Newcastle this week, and is available to download free from iTunes.
Jo Ennis said: "Aside from our own experiences of playing computer games, developing a game app was completely new to the project team.
"It was a creative journey for all of us as we started out with so many ideas and through a process of negotiation these evolved into the finished product.
"In the end we went for a mobile app which included environmental factors associated with an ageing population as we felt this would have broader appeal and would make the game more accessible to non-scientists.
"The main challenge during this process was actually deciding how much of the research content to include and also ensuring that this would be accessible to non-scientists. Following feedback from volunteers we streamlined some of these features, making it more player-friendly."