Quirkies Evolution is a game that teaches how evolution works: quirkies evolve through natural selection, reproduction, recombination and mutation of genes. By selecting mates who reproduce, kids simulate the environment in which the best quirkies survive. A 4th-grader and her dad created this game for kids to have fun learning about evolution; evolutionary biologists at IU have helped make it more educational.
The player selects quirkies with some trait they would like the population to have. In each generation, the offspring inherits the genes from the parents. Quirkies will evolve new traits such as colors, nose, mouth, limbs, and hair by regulatory gene adaptations. The family tree lets players explore how genes are inherited and the population view shows the shared pool of quirkies and their traits. Win the game with high enough fitness over generations. But quirkies may also be rejected by mates, experience harmful mutations, and risk death.
During play, quirkies entertain kids with funny comments, quiz their understanding of evolution, and make suggestions from an amazing range of educational videos and podcasts. Players earn badges through these activities. Players also earn survival points with mini-games: help their offspring feed, fight challengers, and find their parents. And in the biolab, they can manipulate genes!
When a cute quirkie evolves, kids can give it a name (it also gets a scientific species name) and share it with their friends; they can explore the families of saved quirkies and get news alerts about new siblings or offspring.