Professional poker players frequently feel the need to give something back to the community, by sharing their insights on forums and personal websites. Some are equally inclined to make generous donations and the beneficiaries are usually those less fortunate who are in dire need of financial support. It comes as no surprise that poker companies are occasionally funding similar projects and PokerStars’ recent initiative is definitely worth mentioning.
Rational Group is the company owning PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker and over the last couple of months they got fully involved in the “Play to Cure: Genes in Space” project. This is an innovative game that is supposed to have a two-pronged effect, on one hand entertaining people, on the other helping researchers collect useful information, so they can beat cancer. The concept is intriguing to say the least and a lot of work was put into this game, which is now in its final stage and fully playable.
A stable version has hit the app market and thanks to the poker company, it is free to play and will continue to be available for download free of charge. The game is relatively simple as players are supposed to navigate the outer space at the board of a modern vessel, in an attempt of collecting Element Alpha. This resource is distributed all over the space, but some areas are particularly rich and that’s why players focus almost exclusively on these sectors.
The developers work together with cancer researchers, so that when players collect resources, they also accumulate valuable data that can be used by the scientists. What the researchers need is someone to map the routes which correspond to real genetic data, so that a lot of time is saved in the process. As far as players are concerned, this is anything but hard work, with their ship floating through a fascinating maze that changes all the time.
The project has tremendous potential, because it combines the best of both worlds and the fact that it is kept free by generous donations is its best-selling points. The developers hope that many mobile device users will choose to download this application and play a couple of levels whenever they have free time, so that they inadvertently help researchers. Only time will tell whether “Play to Cure: Genes in Space” will reach its full potential, but Rational Group’s involvement is honorable nonetheless.