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Superbugs Game Teaches Danger of Evolving Bacteria Like an Alarmingly Realistic Dr. Mario

We knew there was something wrong with throwing so many pills.

It’s one thing to face hopeless odds in a game about a fictional situation, but what about fighting a very real threat that we all face in the real world? That’s the basic premise of Superbugs, a game that has you fighting off ever-evolving bacteria as you chuck pills at it like you’re Doctor Mario, but as in reality, you’ll experience diminishing returns on their effectiveness.

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It’s a simple experience, but that makes it all the more effective in communicating the dangers we all face as illness-causing bacteria evolve to get around our methods of killing it. The game was created in partnership between game developer Preloaded and The Longitude Prize, which is currently pushing scientists to create better tests for bacterial infections so that only the right antibiotics are used to combat illness in a targeted manner. That way, the overuse of antibiotics will slow along with the evolution of bacteria that react to it.

A recent report warns that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” could kill 10 million people per year. The goal of the game is to raise awareness and understanding of the issue, for which it was already recognized at the Serious Play Awards. It’s out now for free on both Android and iOS in the UK, but not in the US just yet.

(image via Preloaded)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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