Amateur Players. Amateur Creators

The Citizen Sort video games incorporate citizen science activities and entertaining gameplay. By helping scientists with classification tasks, you will participate in real scientific research. In Happy Match! and Forgotten Island, you will sort through images of different species and categorize them depending on questions scientists designed themselves. But a major question remains, who designed these video games?

From start to finish

Students studying at Syracuse University hand drew, painted and programmed all three of the Citizen Sort video games themselves. A group of several students from different departments and majors worked together to brainstorm ideas, story lines and designs for the games. In Forgotten Island, students worked together to create the concept art, the puzzles, characters, locations and every last detail.  Students hand drew and painted the locations in Forgotten Island, like the slippery icy peak, gushing volcano, dense forest, hovering gardens, a huge slug and much more. Students also programmed  Forgotten Island and the various versions of Happy Match! From moth classifications to sharks, rays and plant classifications, students built databases and programmed every detail of the games. The Citizen Sort website is also coded and managed by students at Syracuse University.


Citizen Sort is a research project at Syracuse University. Another requirement for the group was to decide how to incorporate citizen science into the video games. The games range from tool to game like, each a separate entity.  From the nature fanatic to the gamer, students on Citizen Sort designed video games to suit all interests. Working with different scientists, naturalists and biologists Citizen Sort uploaded thousands of their photos into different versions of each video game. Students then incorporated classification tasks into the video games, even when drawing the locations, so users can “game for good.” There is another research portion of the Citizen Sort project. Users should also answer brief survey questions, completely anonymously. These survey questions are helpful for the human interaction research aspect of the Citizen Sort project, analyzing the role of motivation in citizen science.

The Citizen Sort project has several goals. The two main ones are citizen science and human computer interaction research. However, the project has also provided hands on educational and training skills to students all over campus.

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