Futurecade launches

Futurecade games launched by the Science Museum

Futurecade games launched by the Science Museum

Should we send robots into war instead of humans? Is genetic engineering OK if it’s used to create life-saving drugs? Would you prefer scientists to try to ‘fix’ the climate so we don’t have to change our lifestyles? And who should pay to clear up space junk before it takes out vital communication satellites?

These excellently knotty scientific problems are captured in Futurecade, a set of new online games created by the Talk Science team at the Science Museum with award-winning studio Preloaded. You can capture clouds and brighten them to reflect sunlight back into space; you can defend a port against attack using robotic lobsters, and you can engineer e-coli while trying not to create scary mutants – all against the clock and with great sound effects.

I’ve been working with the Talk Science team for a while on background briefing notes for these and other discussion activities. The challenge is always to provide enough information for an authentic classroom debate, without over-simplifying or overloading. We’ve developed a template that ensures the main issue is defined, the terms explained and the opposing arguments covered, with key facts and sources also included.

Each of the Futurecade games deals with a genuine issue in technology or science – topics on which there are no easy answers. You know you’ve got the issue right, and explained the angles adequately, when you start to question what you think yourself.