Nova scholars in COVID-19 game development
Nova Hreod Academy was one of two schools nationally who helped develop and test a mobile game for young people, aimed at reducing anxiety and improving social distancing skills during the COVID-19.
Year 10 students Jin and Aditya, and Year 8 Daniel, explained how they were involved in the development of the game. Five Nova students had volunteered to share their knowledge and attitudes around the current pandemic, which was analysed carefully to identify the key themes for the game. After being introduced to the game during a zoom consultation, they discussed the effects it could have on young people, and the developer asked for their opinion on a number of different aspects. Aditya explained that he was keen to be involved due to his interest in computer game design - the first version that was sent to them for testing only had nine levels, but this has increased as COVID-19 research has developed and new medicines are added. Daniel said he enjoyed being involved in the project and found it very interesting as he intends to follow a career in medicine.
All the students have downloaded the game and are enjoying watching it develop, knowing that their involvement made it possible. The result is Remedy Quest - a 2D casual game inspired by science and set in an abstract world that is being invaded by unwanted viral residents. Reminiscent of real research, players must upgrade their skills and develop unique strategies to overcome the virus. The game gives users a view on what scientists have been doing and how quickly the virus can spread.
Nova Science teacher Ms Brogden, said:
“Remedy Quest is an effective tool for educating students on Covid-19 infection and treatment without them even realising that they are learning how infectious disease causes harm, how our body responds and how we can fight the infection. The graphics are beautiful and the game is really engaging, encouraging players to think and strategise.
The potential impact goes far beyond students developing a better understanding of the biology and immune response in the face of an infectious disease; it does not take much imagination to hypothesise that with greater understanding of the effect of Covid-19 once it enters our body and the ways in which we combat the infection that young people will have a better understanding and deeper appreciation of strategies designed to prevent passing on the infection and be less fearful of treatments and vaccinations and could even help promote uptake of vaccinations by relatives.
From the point of view of students being involved in the development of the game then this has been a fantastic opportunity for students to see first-hand the process of game development and how science, art, media and digital literacy all combine in a creative and exciting way – the process has been a fantastic advert for the promotion of STEM in schools."
The game can be downloaded on the app store – search for Remedy Quest.