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Sea Hero Quest is a mobile game which contributes to research on dementia. It was designed by British game company Glitchers in 2016 in association with Alzheimer's Research UK, University College London and the University of East Anglia and with funding from Deutsche Telekom.[1][2][3] The idea for the game came from neuroscientist Michael Hornberger of the University of East Anglia who collaborated with Hugo Spiers of University College London and a group of six other neuroscientists.[4]

Sea Hero Quest
  • WW: 2016

The game was designed to help researchers to understand the mental process of 3D navigation, which is one of the first skills lost in dementia. It was hoped that a large number of people would play the game, thus contributing much more data than could easily be obtained in a laboratory experiment.[5]

The plot of the game involves a sea journey taken by a son in a quest to recover the memories his father has lost to dementia. There are three sections: navigation, shooting flares to test orientation, and chasing creatures. Each has been "carefully crafted to be as fun and exciting as it is scientifically valid".[6]

It was named "App of the week" by BT.[7] It won nine Cannes Lions at the 2016 International Festival of Creativity.[8]

By February 2017, the game had been downloaded 2.7 million times.[8]

In August 2017, Sea Hero Quest came in a virtual reality edition.[9]

The game was nominated for the 2018 British Academy Games Awards, in the new category "Game Beyond Entertainment" for games which "deliver a transformational experience beyond pure entertainment".[10] At the 2018 Webby Awards, it won the award for "Social Impact".[11]


  1. ^ "Partners". Sea Hero Quest. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  2. ^ Titcomb, James (4 May 2016). "Playing this smartphone game can help fight dementia". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Home page". Glitchers. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Sara (7 May 2016). "Two minutes playing this video game could help scientists fight Alzheimer's". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Mobile game Sea Hero Quest 'helps dementia research'". BBC News. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  6. ^ "The Science Behind the Game". Sea Hero Quest. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  7. ^ "App of the week: Sea Hero Quest - the mobile game that is fighting dementia". Tech & Gadgets: News. BT. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b Jordan, Lucy (27 February 2017). "Navigating dementia: researchers at UCL are casting a new light on dementia through a mobile phone game with 2.7 million players". University College London. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  9. ^ Rigg, Jamie (30 August 2017). "'Sea Hero Quest' hides dementia research inside a VR game". Engadget. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  10. ^ Makedonski, Brett (12 April 2018). "BAFTA names What Remains of Edith Finch its best game of 2017". Destructoid. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  11. ^ "2018 Winners". The Webby Awards. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.

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