Help scientists by playing these 5 video games (seriously!)

Think science is all work and no play?

Celebrate National Video Games Day (September 12th) by helping scientists uncover meaningful information on important topics while simply playing games on your computer or cell phone!

Want to learn more about how gaming can help science? Read more about the mechanics of data collection and analysis through gameplay on the SciStarter blog:

Gaming for Science. How Video Games Are Making Research Fun

How Playing Science Games is Advancing Genetic Research.


The SciStarter Team


Image credit: Phylo

Align sequences of colors to make a match. The sequences aren’t just colors — they represent actual DNA sequences that could be linked to genetic disorders. Your moves will train an algorithm to better answer questions about genes.

More than 350,000 people have participated in Phylo and players have found around 1.5 million solutions to inconsistencies in DNA sequence alignments.

Get Started!

Image credit: BALANCED Media|Technology

If you like games like Candy Crush, you’ll love Rocks & Runes!

Destroy rocks with bombs and match colorful runes together in this fast paced mobile game. While matching patterns and busting rocks, you’re actually sifting through cancer data researchers need to find new drugs.

Get Started!

Image credit: EVE Online

Eve Online is a space-based, massively multiplayer online role-playing game and caters to more seasoned video game enthusiasts. Players are immersed in stunning visuals as they explore space.

Inside the Eve Online world is a citizen science mini game! Gamers that play are helping identifying clusters of cells helping scientists better understand how our immune systems are impacted by coronavirus.

Get Started!

Image credit: McGill University

Circle clusters of bacteria — the faster you do, the more points you get!

Each particle in a cluster represents one person’s gut microbiome data, and clustering lets researchers group people with similar gut microbiome data together. Your clusters help researchers gain a better understanding of how lifestyle choices affect our health through the microbiome.

Get Started!

Image credit: Borderlands

Attention: Borderlands 3 players!

The Borderlands Science arcade helps advance medical research by mapping the human gut microbiome.

Next time you’re aboard Sanctuary III in Borderlands 3, keep an eye out for the newly installed arcade game area in the corner of Doctor Tannis’ infirmary.

Get Started!

SciStarter LIVE!

Join the SciStarter team Tuesdays from 2-3PM ET to hear from project leaders, get tips on participating and learn about the impact of contributing to volunteer powered science. Join in from anywhere via Zoom or watch the live stream on SciStarter’s Facebook page.

September 12: Gaming To Make Discoveries and Solve Problems. Join us on National Video Games Day and hear from the creators of two citizen science mini-games. Learn how they did it and what impact game players have had on research. Watch the recording!

In case you missed it: Arizona Special: Monitoring Indoor Air Quality for Your Health and for Science Watch the recording.

Five NASA Projects. Two Eclipses. One Bad Astronomer (feat. special guest Phil Plait)

Join us for a special Do NASA Science LIVE! Tuesday September 19, 7-8:30pm ET.

Get ready for the North American eclipses happening October 2023 and April 2024. NASA scientists want your help sharing observations before, during and after the eclipses, from wherever you are. There’s information they can learn about the Sun only during these rare events!

Join our special host, “Bad Astronomer” Phil Plait to learn more during the interactive “Do NASA Science LIVE!” online, September 19th, 7-8:30 pm ET. Your next chance to see a solar eclipse in the U.S. won’t be until 2044, so don’t miss out!

Learn more and register here!

What’s happening near you today? With Science Near Me, find a broad range of local science-related discussions, festivals, policy forums and events. Discover activities to do at home, star parties with local astronomy clubs, science nights at nearby bars and much more!


Check it out!


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Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Citizen Science, Gaming

About the Author

SciStarter Team

SciStarter Team

SciStarter connects you to thousands of searchable citizen science projects in need of your help. Use the Project Finder ( to find a project to match your location, interests, and age level. Your free SciStarter account will help you earn credit for participating in projects across apps and websites (use the advanced search option at to find Affiliate projects eligible for credit in your dashboard). Together, we can move the world forward!