Sea Hero Quest helps Alzheimer research, is entertaining

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By Billy Moin, Managing Editor

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Created by Glitchers in collaboration with several groups including Deutsche Telekom and Alzheimer’s Research, Sea Hero Quest is the result of an effort to devise a new way to collect dementia research.

In the game, the character helps his father rediscover creatures he once found long ago. Players do this by navigating intricate mazes, retracing their paths and chasing the forgotten animals to capture them in photos.

There are three different level types within the game.

Most levels force players to maneuver among numbered buoys. In these levels, players are given a map to memorize and must sail to each buoy (in numerical order) based on what they remember from the map.

As players move, their path is recorded and sent to researchers, allowing them to document how the typical person moves between points and recalls information. The goal is to use this information to detect a patient with dementia from the earliest stages (a loss of navigational skills is one of the disease’s first signs).

In other levels, players sail from a buoy to a flare gun. Once they reach the gun, they must shoot their flare back to the buoy as a test of spacial awareness.

The last kind of level is a Subway Surfer-esque chase after the creatures. At these points, the player has to move between rocks and waves to catch up to the animals and snap a picture.

As the levels progress, Glitchers ramps up the difficulty by making maps harder to read and by including fog within the level itself. These additions allow scientists to learn how such obstacles impede a person’s ability to navigate.

However, at the same time, navigational levels also include multiple landmarks, which act similarly to the aforementioned obstacles in that they will provide clues for researchers as to how people move around.

To make the game a touch more tantalizing, the developers created several different regions to explore, ranging from the frozen arctic to tropical islands. The game also gives out one to three stars for every level. Players can use these stars to customize their boats.

In the end, Sea Hero Quest provides a fun challenge as well as a chance to help the the world understand a tragic disease.

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