Let's face it, chemistry can be a bit of a taxing subject to learn at times. But when you combine the process with playing video games learning about chemistry suddenly becomes fun.
We've hand-selected 7 great chemistry-themed computer games that might just get you hooked.
But trust us when we say there are many more examples out there.
What skills can video games improve?
Video games have been shown to be able to improve many real-life skills. These range from things like multi-tasking and problem-solving to improving your reading skills.
But, video games should only be used as an aid to learning. Whilst they do have real-life benefits, they do also have their downsides.
What skills do you learn playing video games?
Video games really can help you learn some important real-life skills. One interesting example is their use for helping people learn a new language.
There are many examples out there, but one very intuitive example is Dualingo. This app is great for learning a new language from Spanish to Klingon (yes you read that correctly).
Why video games can be good for you?
Not only are video games excellent ways of learning new skills, but they can also have other benefits for you. One of the primary ones being their use for relaxation or adventure.
They can also help you feel part of a community. Gamers tend to help each other out when in trouble and online multiplayer games offer an unparalleled communal experience.
Video games can also give you a real sense of achievement if the game is particularly challenging. But be careful this is a slippery slope to addiction.
Are video games good for learning?
Yes, they are. Not only are video games excellent for learning new skills, as we have seen, they can also be used to learn new subjects in fun and interesting ways.
The following 7 are great examples of how video games can be used to help players learn some fundamentals of chemistry, for example.
1. Chemcaper is all about chemistry
Chemcaper is an interesting video game that can teach you about chemistry. It is available across a variety of platforms including iOS, Mac, Windows, and Android.
The game is a chemistry-themed adventure game that is aimed at teaching teenagers between 10 and 14 years of age about some fundamental aspects of the discipline.
By playing the game, teenagers will learn topics like: -
- scientific apparatus;
- separation techniques;
- groups of elements;
- properties of elements; and,
- types of chemical bonding.
According to their website, "ChemCaper players report that they remember 90% of the chemistry concepts learned in the game 6 months after playing it for the first time."
2. HoloLAB Champions is great for learning chemistry
HoloLAB Champions is a great Windows-only computer game that teaches you about working in a laboratory. Once purchased, downloaded and installed, players are transported into a virtual lab called 'HoloLAB'.
But 'HoloLAB' is no regular laboratory. It is actually a VR lab practice game show. Players will need to don their safety gear and run some experiments.
Within the game, players must complete several mini-labs before facing a final 'boss' lab.
This game will teach players about the fundamentals of lab protocol and proper lab safety. It will also introduce and reinforce their knowledge of lab vocabulary and materials.
3. Tiny Bubbles will teach you about bubbles
Tiny Bubbles is more of a game for entertainment rather than teaching chemistry, but it is worth having a look at. The game is an organic puzzle game where players need to match colors in a cluster of realistic soap bubbles.
The game's designer created the game after being inspired by his grandfather who was a real-life MIT scientist on bubbles.
The player needs to fill bubbles with colorful air to strategically reshape the cluster. You can also break bubble edges and combine neighbors to mix their colors together.
When a match is made of four or more bubbles they deflate in an entertaining cascade.
4. Organic Pop is all about molecules
Organic Pop is a great little puzzle game for learning about molecules. Like Tiny Bubbles, it is designed primarily for entertainment but will test your chemistry knowledge nonetheless.
Within the game, players need to build molecules to eliminate atom blocks in a grid.
The rules of the game are as follows: -
1. Connect atoms. The Octet-rule applies here.
2. Atoms disappear when connected atoms form a molecule.
3. Repeat 1-2 until you build a target molecule.
The game is free to play is available on iOS and Android.
5. Org Chem Adventure makes organic chemistry fun
Org Chem Adventure is a game that finally makes organic chemistry fun. Within the game, you join Ren on an interactive fiction gamebook adventure.
Everything around you, all characters, trees, buildings, and other creatures are all drenched in organic chemistry. Each one you meet will teach you something new about the discipline in a fun and educational way.
The game was developed with the aim of making learning organic chemistry fun: -
"Organic Chemistry as taught in some parts of the world has little to no meaning of its own, deprived of the laboratory pretext the subject actually carries with it. Most students find this lack of context appalling and are forced to either create some meaningful context of their own or proceed with rote memorization without it. This game was developed with such students in mind, hoping to provide them with a mnemonic base to build upon."
6. Happy Atoms is not just a video game
Happy Atoms is a game designed to teach players about the wonderful world of molecules. It is exclusive to iOS for a small one-time fee.
It does differ from other games on the list as it requires both physical components and the iOS app to work.
Happy Atoms aims to change the way students learn chemistry by offering a learning experience that sets itself apart.
The game has the following basic concepts: -
- See the difference between elements
- Feel the forces that bond them together
- Experiment with ways to combine them
- Discover the relationships between molecular structure and properties
Happy Atoms might just be the perfect teaching aid for chemistry teachers too. It could be included in lessons on covalent/ionic bonding, valence electrons, the octet rule, and more.
7. Bond Breaker 2 does exactly what it says on the tin
Bond Breaker 2 is a game all about the atomic world. To solve each level you will need to need to manipulate protons, molecules, laser light, and more.
You can push and pull atoms around, combine them, and split them, all whilst needing to avoid obstacles along the way.
The game is the product of a collaboration between scientists at the CaSTL research center and indie studio TestTubeGames. Its aim is to bring the joys and frustrations of physical chemistry to players of all ages.
It is available on iOS, Android, and the Web and is completely free to play. That's the best kind of price.