It’s now become a long-running tradition on Massively OP to track science-related and science-adjacent stories that touch on the MMORPG world, but this past year’s pile is smaller than usual, for reasons that will surprise no one: the global pandemic dampened research around the globe. Plus, many of the companies and agencies that love the pound the “video games cause violence” and “video games cause metal health problems” drum sans evidence (both storylines that often make this roundup) were muffled as instead the world was encouraged to turn to online games and platforms for everything from work and education to socialization and entertainment. I mean, watching the World Health Organization pivot from “gaming disorder is real because China says” to “#PlayApartTogether to beat the coronavirus” – those were fun times, right?
But on the upside, the pandemic also pushed along science in other ways. Far and away the most important MMOs-and-science narrative of 2020 was the gamer response to fighting the pandemic, specifically with EVE Online, as CCP Games focused the latest prong of its citizen science initiative on COVID-19 research; it partnered with multiple universities on an EVE minigame that used a tracing tool to mark groups of cell populations in blood to give scientists a clearer idea of how different cell populations and types are altered through infection. As of September, gamers had completed over 41,000,000 classifications. Bravo, people.
We’ve gathered together the best science-related MMO articles on MOP from 2020 – don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end. This time.