With the control of a Nanobot, a robot small enough to enter and explore a living cell. Within this world, the player finds systems built to reflect actual scientific information about the cell, and he or she must investigate and understand this world in order to complete their mission of saving the cell from a virus invasion. The first step in understanding the world is by scanning the surroundings. Every object large and small can be scanned in Sim Cell, and through this mechanic the player comes to understand both the mechanics of the game and the mechanics of cell biology (which in this game are one and the same).
Plazma Membrane Mitochondrion
Scanning and following directions is critical to building the player’s understanding of the world, but it not enough to complete the game; the player must make discoveries using this information, putting together the puzzle pieces to cause a desired effect. Scanned objects will explain how they work individually, but it is on the player to fit these explanations into a common framework among all the objects of the cell, connecting the dots and constructing for themselves the very processes that cells use to function.
By bringing this multi-faceted approach to learning (allowing the player first to pull information about the world, then requiring them to fuse the ideas in their head), we create a world where the player is in control of their learning, their agency is guiding their discoveries, and the answers they find are answers that they themselves sought out.
Our approach to both commercial and educational games at Strange Loop is the same: make the player the discoverer, the creator, the researcher. Video games as a medium alone allow for this unique relationship to learning; the player is the one pulling information from the world, and insights gained in this way are far more meaningful and memorable.