When I am not playing video games, I tend to lean on the sciences for entertainment. Sure, I am a psychology major, which is considered a soft science, but learning about how the body works is one of the most fascinating topics one could indulge in. Needless to say, I am a massive fan of Mayim Bialik, and she inspired me to take my neuroscience courses. So, when I was waiting for my player one to log into Borderlands 3 and I saw the advertisement for Borderlands Science featuring the brilliant Bialik, I was ecstatic.
Borderlands Science was developed via a trio of world-class organizations, including McGill University, Massively Multiplayer Online Science, and The Microsetta Initiative. Hidden within Tanis’s lab is an old arcade game like Candy Crush in which players are to match up similar colored boxes. Only, this game isn’t just for obtaining in-game currency, which can be redeemed for unique Vault Hunter Heads and Skins as well as timed boosters that buff your stats, loot quality, and even experience, oh no, these blocks represent nucleotides found on DNA strands.
Each level of Borderlands Science represents parts of an individual’s DNA, excreted from their poop, that was placed in a scientific database. Unfortunately, computers aren’t perfect, and when they attempt to organize the data, they make tons of little mistakes that can affect the analysis. Fortunately, humans can overcome these errors thanks to Borderlands Science! The data collected through our efforts are open-sourced, meaning it can help researchers around the globe learn more about diabetes, depression, autism, anxiety, obesity, etc. Overall, this project allows us gamers to make the world a better place.
In the end, Borderlands Science has found a way to allow gamers to contribute to science from the comforts of their home. If you’re not entirely sold on the idea, I have included links to all the parties involved as well as dnapuzzles.org, as found on the Borderlands Science website. If helping the scientific community is your jam, let me know in the comments what level you’re determined to get to!