Alpha Beat Cancer took the top honors at the Indie Prize Awards at the Casual Connect USA 2018 game event in Anaheim, California. The game beat out 60 other finalists in the 21st indie competition to win the best of the show, as chosen by the audience.

The iOS and Android game is a collaboration of nonprofit Beaba and Mukutu Games, which are both based in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The team that made the game included cancer survivors, and it consulted with patients and doctors to try to get the facts about cancer and its treatment right. The title is a collection of 20-minute games.

Above: Alpha Beat Cancer

Image Credit: Beaba

The original title came out in Portuguese in December 2016, said Gica Yabu, adviser for the nonprofit Beaba, in an interview. It is targeted at kids ages three to six years old, to help them try to understand and cope with cancer.

“Everything  is approved by doctors and we follow medical protocols,” said Yabu. “We made this game to help with kids with cancer. Grown-ups just cannot tell the truth about it. As a nonprofit, we provide clear and optimistic information about the disease and its treatment.”

Above: Indie Prize Award contestants.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

In one part of the game, patients are taken into the tomography room. You have to hold the patient down on the table to make sure the body is still enough to create a good image.

Other games about cancer include That Dragon, Cancer, which is about coping with a child dying of cancer, and Re-Mission, which has similar aims but is aimed at older kids, said Simone Mozzilli, CEO of Beaba.

“It’s a great way to start a conversation about cancer with a child,” Mozzilli said. “The difference is we are creating content for really young kids. We try to make it fun, graphic, and simple.”

The Portuguese version of the game was funded in part by the game studio and by a government grant. The team gathered a lot of research, and then it made the game. It has cartoon-style art, and it goes through all of the steps in the process, from diagnosis to advanced treatment. The game is targeted at the kids with cancer, as well as their siblings.

The creators are trying to get additional funding for an English version.

Here’s a list of the other winners and nominees:

  • Best Game Audio
    Winner: Floor Kids (MERJ Media, Canada)
    Stack & Crack (Jambav, India)
    Orbit – Playing With Gravity (HIGHKEY Games, USA)
    Rumble League (Lorraine Studio, USA)
  • Best Game Design
    Winner: Molecats (Vidroid, Ukraine)
    SIMULACRA (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
    AntVentor (LoopyMood, Ukraine)
    The Raven and Orion (Always Player 2 Studios, USA)
  • Best Game Art
    Winner: AntVentor (LoopyMood, Ukraine)
    Past Cure (Phantom 8 Studio, Germany)
    Brave Hand (Heart Shaped Games, USA)
    Molecats (Vidroid, Ukraine)
  • Best Game Animation
    Winner: Bushy Tail (Fuero Games, Poland)
    Floor Kids (MERJ Media, Canada)
    Zebrainy ABCs (Zebrainy, Malta)
    World Creator! (Lionbird Limited, Hong Kong)
  • Best Game Narrative
    Winner: Bushy Tail (Fuero Games, Poland)
    Simulacra (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
    Past Cure (Phantom 8 Studio, Germany)
    Skye (Puny Astronaut, Scotland)
  • Best Multiplayer Game
    Winner: King of the Hat (Hyroglyphik Games, Canada)
    Massive Warfare: Rush (TinyBytes, Chile)
    Kluno: Hero Battle (Gameka, Malaysia)
    Imposter Drawster (Up at Night, USA)
  • Best Kids & Family Game
    Winner: Zebrainy ABCs (Zebrainy, Malta)
    Pets Race (Kooapps, USA)
    Drawing for Kids (Bini Bambini, Ukraine)
    Skye (Puny Astronaut, Scotland)
  • Best Mobile Game
    Winner: Simulacra (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
    Corecraft (Retro Principles, Malta)
    Warhammer: Doomwheel (Katsu Entertainment, USA)
    Grapple Gum (Ali Mehrez, Tunisia)
  • Most Innovative Game
    Winner: Molecats (Vidroid, Ukraine)
    Simulacra (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
    Floor Kids (MERJ Media, Canada)
    Vocaline (Flatgames, Turkey)

Disclosure: The organizers of Casual Connect paid my way to Anaheim. Our coverage remains objective.

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