Sea Hero Quest is helping diagnose Alzheimer’s

A groundbreaking sea-themed discovery.

Sea Hero Quest

Games aren’t just plain entertainment. This is something we need to write in stone once and for all. Games are self-discovery voyages, awareness turbines and, in the case of Sea Hero Quest, a step forward in medicine. This VR sea-fearing title is designed to gather research information about early symptoms of the devastating disease, Alzheimer’s.

At The Indie Game Website we read about indie games every single day and we try to focus on the most interesting stuff out there to pour onto The Daily Dose. Sea Hero Quest is not a market-breaking game, but rather a much more important thing.

According to today’s press release by the University of East Anglia, every two minutes played of Sea Hero Quest represents 5 hours of lab research towards learning about Alzheimer’s, a horrible disease that destroys life-long memories. If you’ve ever had a family member suffering from it or know someone in that position, then you know what it means.

Sea Hero Quest was developed by indie studio Glitchers with the collaboration of Deutsche Telekom, Alzheimer’s Research UK, University College London and the University of East Anglia. It was originally released in 2016 as a mobile game and was later ported to support a VR experience in 2017. As of today more than 4.3 million people have downloaded and played this game.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have stated that all the data gathered so far equals 1,700 years of lab research. That’s impressive. That’s more than impressive. It’s almost heroic and certainly groundbreaking. Our current findings show that we can reliably detect such subtle navigation changes in at-genetic-risk of Alzheimer’s disease healthy people without any problem symptoms or complaints. Our findings will inform future diagnostic recommendations and disease treatments to address this devastating disease”, said lead researcher Prof Michael Hornberger, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

But how does Sea Hero Quest help diagnose Alzheimer’s? Sea Hero Quest is a small game in which players take control of a ship’s helm and have to memorize where each checkpoint is towards their destination. This simple process tests spatial memory, allowing to identify very early symptoms of a disease that used to be only diagnosed at its late stages.

“Our current findings show that we can reliably detect such subtle navigation changes in at-genetic-risk of Alzheimer’s disease healthy people without any problem symptoms or complaints. Our findings will inform future diagnostic recommendations and disease treatments to address this devastating disease”, added Hornberger.

There’s much more to learn about this project, and if you’re interested in it you can check out today’s full press release or the game’s website.

We already know that games are much more than entertainment, we’re always looking to learn more about those which help people around the world in different ways. This is just one of them.

Associate Editor

Our boy from Buenos Aires, Juan has been a gamer for as long as he can remember (and possibly even longer than that). He loves a good story, and believes every indie game has a compelling one to tell.

Juan Manuel Fontan

Associate Editor Our boy from Buenos Aires, Juan has been a gamer for as long as he can remember (and possibly even longer than that). He loves a good story, and believes every indie game has a compelling one to tell.