The list is essentially about educational based games that nailed entertainment (with a focus on scientific phenomenon). - mettamage on HN
Here is a collaborative notepad with educational/science games, i.e. games that are:
- capturing parts of real scientific phenomena (including social science, medicine, etc),
- actually playable (you can play them for fun, not ones "for classroom only").
So in general, ones that may make you say I played X for its own sake, yet I've learnt how Y works! for Y being advanced enough.
This is a collaborative list dedicated to the public domain (CC0), where everyone is welcomed to contribute! See: how to contribute. It was started, and is being maintained, by Piotr Migdał (the author of Quantum Game with Photons).
A mini table of contents: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Health, Mathematics, Sociology and economy, Humanities
A slower speed of light
Kerbal Space Program
- quantum computation and quantum information
- puzzle / blocks
- web (free of charge), iOS ($)
Quantum Game with Photons
Quantum Marble Maze
Quantum Moves, Quantum Minds
- adiabatic processes for quantum states
- puzzle / action
- citizen science
- Quantum Moves (free of charge): GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS
- Quantum Minds (free of charge): MacOS, Windows
The Electric Shocktopus
- gravity and conservation of momentum
- puzzle / action / strategy
- GNU/Linux ($), MacOS ($), Windows ($), Android ($), iOS ($)
- Minecraft-like environment with quantum circuit demonstrations, puzzles, and escape rooms
- puzzle / strategy
- Linux, Windows, macOS, Android (free of charge)
- Apache 2.0 license
- Used in quantum computing workshop:
Interplanetary Postal Service
- Cellular biology, evolution
- Evolution simulator, top-down perspective. The player evolves and controls their own single cellular species, playing as one cell and competing against other AI species that evolve and adapt alongside them.
- Windows & Linux (free of charge)
- GNU General Public License
- Main repo
Cell Lab: Evolution Sandbox
- protein conformation
- 3d puzzle
- citizen science
- GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows (free of charge)
Evolution: the origin of species
- players start as organic compounds shortly after Earth's formation
- create autocatalytic life and Darwinian life
- Players can play cooperative, competitive, or solitaire.
- board game ($)
- side-scrolling platform game whereby you are Mac, the Macromolecule Man.💪
- Using your molecule blaster, you will solve a variety of puzzles, building and using the key biological molecules that make life possible.
- Learn about carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and their building blocks.
- web-based (free of charge)
Digital Logic Design (The Game)
- digital logic and computer design
- build a processor from start
- web-based (free of charge)
Code Master - The Ultimate Coding Board Game
- multiple very constrained CPUs + communication
- SpaceChem-style optimization
- GNU/Linux ($), MacOS ($), Windows ($)
Human Resource Machine
Hour of Code
Untrusted —or— the Continuing Adventures of Dr. Eval
- simulation building
- collect resources and design factories
- automate all aspects of factory production
- Windows ($), Mac ($), GNU/Linux ($)
Google Turing Doodle
- cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- interactive video story, fast-paced
- web-based (Flash) (free of charge)
A game of numbers
- arithmetic, a bit of number theory
- a rogue-like game
- GNU/Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android (pay-what-you-want)
- license: version 17 and Android version GNU GPLv2 (code on homepage); version 18 appears to be proprietary
- 3d adventure game
- GNU/Linux ($), MacOS ($), Windows ($) with free of charge demo
Euclid the Game
- planar geometry
- web, Android, iOS (free of charge)
- playing with 4-dimensional shapes
- Windows ($)
- dragonbox algebra
- Entertaining puzzle game stealthily teaches you to solve algebraic equations
- Android ($), iOS ($)
Sociology and economy
- Israel-Palestine peace process (unfortunately outdated and too optimistic)
- Android ($), iOS ($), Kindle Fire ($), MacOS ($), Windows ($)
Parable of the Polygons
philo: socratic games
- simple 2d platformers (puzzle, not - action)
- philosophical concepts, fallacies
- web (free of charge)
- CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher
Kern Type, the kerning game
The Bézier Game
Life experience games
There are a few games that feel somewhat related (even if not that much science-based).
I (@stared) considered putting them in psychology/sociology, but it turned out to be a controversial issue.
Again, what is crucial - it's not about only about theme, but game mechanics aligned with experiencing a difficult life situation.
- living with depression
- text-based game (with choices based on energy/motivation - even though other options are visible)
- web (free), Steam ($)
This War of Mine
- existentialism, transhumanism, mind-uploading
- survival first-person perspective
- PlayStation 4, Windows, OS X, Linux
- Steam ($)
- (this one even more subjective, just one allowing to feel some philosophical problems)
(prototype) Grounded: Circuits
(side note) Vim shortcuts gamified
If it is possible to gamify such seemingly boring things as learning keyboard shortcuts, then the sky's the limit!
How to contribute
The easiest way is to edit this file, commit and create a Pull Request.
Remember to include:
- working link (and its nicer version), e.g.
- field of science or engineering, e.g.
- type of game
- (optional) technology or system, e.g.
Android, iOS, web
- (optional) link to additional materials (e.g. repo, some interesting blog post about this game)
A game needs to fit this category and it needs to have science-based mechanics (not only theme!) as its major part as:
Any sufficiently advanced game is indistinguishable from a science-based game. - PM, HN comment
Also, for games from typical genres, the bar is much higher. It is not enough that "you learn about ancient warfare" or "you explore outer space".
As a rule of thumb, mainstream games don't fit here (with the exception of Kerbal Space Program).
When a game is free (as in freedom, not price), the license and code repository will be stated when possible. Please note that unless otherwise stated, the game is proprietary or a license can't be found.
If you want to change its form, you are invited as well - but then create your fork (and I would be happy to hear about it!).
All remarks, questions or discussions go to https://github.com/stared/science-based-games-list/issues/ (or @pmigdal Twitter).