Students Staff

13 March 2014

The fun game with the serious message

Colchester Campus

The game Cascade

The game Cascade which will be showcased at the Big Bang Fair.

Youngsters will get the chance to play the much-anticipated game Cascade which involved scientists at the University of Essex at a major event this week.

The scientists joined forces with a leading gaming designer to create the novel new game, which is exciting, yet informative about research into combating Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cascade sends players into a dramatic last stand against the deadly assault of Alzheimer’s Disease on the human brain. Players must try to preserve the mind against a never-ending onslaught before all memory is lost forever.

The game has been in development since 2012 and has been developed in collaboration with Dr Jody Mason, a senior lecturer in biochemistry at Essex who is researching into Alzheimer’s Disease and independent game development studio Fayju. The game was awarded the UK Game of the Show at last year’s Gamescom and is supported by a People Award from the Wellcome Trust.

Fayju, best-known for the game The Amazing Frog? will be showcasing Cascade at the four-day Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, which starts today. Cascade, which will be playable for the first time since its reveal at Gamescom, will be officially launched in June this year.

Alzheimer’s is an age-related disease that by 2050 will affect one in three people in the UK as a sufferer, carer, or a relative. About 65 per cent of the 820,000 people in the UK with dementia have Alzheimer’s.

Dr Mason, co-director of the Essex Research into Ageing Unit at Essex, said: “Dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion each year, more than heart disease and cancer combined, yet receives just a fraction of the funding. Numbers are spiraling and the problem is only getting bigger.

“That’s why it’s key that we get kids interested so that we can slow or even stop this time bomb. Cascade seeks to help by raising awareness, understanding and empathy, while highlighting the desperate need for a cure. What is clear is that the kids of today are the carers of tomorrow and we believe the best way to get them interested is via fun and engaging gameplay that teaches without feeling lectured.

“The game will mirror the biochemistry behind the disease as well as some of the therapeutic intervention strategies, including our own, which are being pursued to combat it.”

Creator of the game, Gaz Bushell said: “We have been working really closely with Jody to make sure the game remains true to scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease. Games are a powerful learning tool and the Big Bang Fair will help us teach younger generations about Alzheimer’s Disease and its pathology within fun and interactive gameplay.”

The Wellcome Trust have put together a film about Cascade.

Note to Editors

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 872400 or e-mail

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.

To contact Fayju email:

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