What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Re-Mission 2 is a set of six games freely available online designed to teach players about cancer and its treatments. It's also meant to empower kids suffering the disease by helping them understand what's going on in their bodies and how the medicines administered to them are working. Violence exists in all of the games –- some more than others –- but it's directed at cancerous cells, tumors, and bacteria. Red environments imply blood is everywhere, but we don't see it flowing or gushing.
What's it about?
RE-MISSION 2 –- a follow-up to the acclaimed cancer fighting third-person shooter Re-Mission -- is a suite of six free games available online that depict the treatment of the disease in a variety of action filled ways. Nanobot's Revenge has players defending lungs and blood vessels from tumor-building minions by bombarding them with weapons including Radiation Beams and Molten ScalpelBlades. The side-scrolling Nano Dropbot, meanwhile, involves hauling Chemo Bombs to cancerous monsters and rescuing healthy cells. Stem Cell Defender is a game about battling off germs and feedings white blood cells, Feeding Frenzy has players steering nanobots around a bloodstream to intercept bacteria colonies and cancer transports, and Leukemia is about saving healthy bone marrow from cells that want to mutate it. Do well in these five games and you'll unlock a sixth: Special Ops, a visually polished twin-stick shooter that has players piloting a nanoship in battle against swarms of microscopic cancerous minions. It has higher production values and requires players to download the application to a PC or Mac in order to play.
Is it any good?
This collection of cancer battling games is a blast, both literally and figuratively. Each game stands out in its own way, from the surprising strategy and imaginative weapons of Nanobot's Revenge to the exotically beautiful vascular backgrounds and smooth, gliding action of Feeding Frenzy. And Special Ops -- the deepest and most sophisticated of them all -- acts as a fine and satisfying reward for the hours of effort players will put into the first five games.
However, the real treasure here is the clever way in which these games teach kids about cancer and medicine. It puts images to the abstract concept of treatment, allowing players to imagine how the drugs and chemicals and radiation used to eradicate mutated, cancerous cells might actually work (even if in cartoonish, fantastical ways). It may even give kids suffering the disease a more positive perspective on the nausea-inducing medicine they receive from doctors.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about cancer and other debilitating diseases. Have you ever known someone with cancer? If so, how did you feel while around that person? Do you worry about contracting cancer yourself one day? If you have cancer, did playing this game make you feel better about fighting it?
Do you think video games are a good way of teaching kids things? What other learning games have you played?