Just for Fun

British Science Week 2022: How Real-Life Science Shapes Our Favourite Games

Written by
Sarah Hook

British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, run by the British Science Association. And it’s coming real soon.

Taking place between the 11th and 20th March 2022, British Science Week aims to raise awareness, spark enthusiasm, and celebrate science, engineering, technology and maths with people of all ages and from all walks of life.

But what’s British Science Week got to do with video games?

Honestly? It’s got everything to do with video games.

Whether it’s the technology that fuels our gaming accessories, the engineering that builds our consoles, or the maths behind our favourite games coding, us gamers owe a lot to science.

So, in our quest to empower gamers, we thought we’d help inspire the next generation, too. Whilst we could write a thousand blogs about video games and science, we thought we’d focus on the fun stuff. And what’s that?

How real-life science shapes our favourite video games.

Believe it or not, so many video games skip the fiction and build their fantasy worlds based on real-life science. We thought we’d walk you through a couple of examples that’ll teach you a thing or two about video games and science.

Animal Crossing uses Mendel’s Laws to Grow Flowers

Before you say anything, it’s been a while since we’ve said a thing or two about our favourite island-building game. So let us have this moment.

Animal Crossing might be the cutest escape this side of The Sims, but believe it or not, one of its biggest tasks is based on science.

You can plant a whole variety of flower types, such as lilies, roses and tulips, as well as buying seeds in colours like red, white, and yellow. You can crossbreed those flowers to make different colours like orange, purple, and blue. But – it’s not as simple as that.

You might try growing red and yellow flowers together to get an orange one. But sometimes, you’ll end up with another red or yellow flower. Digging into the code, curious gamers found the algorithm for flower growing is based on Mendel’s Laws.

Through his work on pea plants, biologist and mathematicianGregor Mendel became known as the father of genetics. By crossbreeding pea plants in his garden, Mendel discovered fundamental laws for a particular typeof genetic inheritance.

His research revealed that each parent passes down genes to its offspring that don’t blend with genes from the other parent. For example, when he crossed purple and white pea plants, he found that the offspring were dominantly purple, preferring one gene over the other.

Looking into Animal Crossing’s code, you’ll find there’s four genes controlling all of the flower types, inspired entirely by Mendel’s laws. Given the complexity of the game’s genetics, and all of the colour combinations to discover, you might want to brush up on your science before digging in.

The Last Of Us' Infection is a Real-Life Fungus

When it comes to predicting the apocalypse, video games find all sorts of ways to end the world. But what if video games started using real-life science to back up the apocalypse?

Well, that’s exactly what The Last Of Us series does. Throughout both games, the world you explore has been ravaged by the Cordyceps Brain Infection, which turns survivors into ravenous zombies.

But Cordyceps isn’t just developers Naughty Dog getting creative, it’s inspired by the real-life fungus it shares its name with.

Whilst there’s over 400 different species of this fungi, which mostly reside in the bodies of living things like insects, it’s the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis type that The Last Of Us toys with.

The fungus works its way through the body of carpenter ants, taking control of their muscles. Before the fungus kills the ant, it persuades it to leave its colony and clutch its jaws to a high-hanging branch. The fungus then emits spores that rain down on new victims, repeating the process.

And we know the developers are fans of this fungus because they bought experts on board during production. Penn State professor of entomology and biology, David Hughes, was consulted on the cordyceps fungus, his expert area.

Much like the stages the ants go through, the Cordyceps Brain Infection goes through four stages. And just like with the ants, the final stage involves spreading the infection to repeat the process.

So, that’s just some of the real-life science behind our favourite games. Believe it or not, it only scratches the surface of what’s out there. So, feel free to get learning and tell us about the games you love that use science.

But if you’re all scienced out right now like we are, why don’t you level up your gaming accessories with our bundles and settle into your favourites.

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March 21, 2022

Mother’s Day 2022: 5 Last Minute Gifts for Mum's Who Love To Game

Written by
Kiri Broad

Sure, flowers and chocolates are staple gifts for Mother’s Day. But what about our mum’s who like to game as much as we do? Whether you’re looking for gift ideas to spark inspiration or you’ve completely forgot about it, here’s 5 last minute gifts for mum’s who love to game.

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