Cell Survivor: A Game for World AIDS Day

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Developing Dreams released Cell Survivor, an online arcade-style video game for World AIDS Day.

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance teamed up with Developing Dreams for World AIDS Day. Together, they created Cell Survivor, a free online arcade-style game.

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Cell Survivor focuses on a single CD4 cell. This cell is protected by a multi-colored cell wall, divided into sections of blue and sections of green. In a game reminiscent of Space Invaders, blue and green enemies enter the screen from above and below. Gamers have to rotate the cell wall using their mouse or their arrow keys in order to match the correct cell wall color with the correct color enemy. (In my experience, playing with a mouse is easier as the cell wall will rotate faster than if you use your keyboard). If a blue enemy hits the blue wall, it ricochets away. If a blue enemy hits the green wall, the enemy disappears, but so does that section of your defense. If you’re hit, you essentially die, so use your cell wall as best as you can.

On the second level, condoms are introduced. Condoms create a temporary shield around the player, but they’re limited. On the third level, antiretroviral tablets are provided; these regenerate your cell wall. On the fourth and final level, you are faced with your hardest challenge yet (but I’m not going to spoil it for you).

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance wanted to find a way to educate the world about the issues that HIV-positive teenagers face in the global south. They wanted to have an interactive way to reach people, especially younger gamers, and make them think about the harsh realities that people face with HIV/AIDS. For instance, 2.1 million young people live with HIV, but the large majority, more than 80%, live in sub-Saharan Africa. Between levels, facts like these are introduced to the players to educate them during gameplay.

If you’re interested in playing, check the game out hereWhat was your high score?


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Kathryn Baker
Writer, Photographer, Foodie. The Nintendo 64 was my first love, but RPGs have quickly taken over my life. I complete every side quest and play every character, but let's be real- HK-47 from KotOR is my absolute favorite.