gamers find HIV enzyme structure

FoldIt is a fun-for-purpose video game developed in 2008 by Uni Washington. In it gamers divide into competing groups and try to solve scientific puzzles using online tools.

They figured out the 3D structure of a monomeric protease enzyme, an essential protein in construction/replication of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV. Finding 3D structures of proteins allows to understand causes and potential cures of viruses.

Foldit creator Seth Cooper explained the success of gamers by saying:

People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at.

Until then only a 2D structure was known using microscopes.

gaming can save the world


  • 3 billion hours/week playing online games (21 billion to save the world).
  • In games we become best versions of ourselves.
  • World of Warcraft (second biggest wiki worldwide; 5 million people playt it every month) is an ideal game world simulating reality.
  • WoW-players have collectively spent 5.93 million years solving virtual world problems.
  • Unlimited satisfaction from feeling of being on verge of epic-win makes us spend much time playing.
  • A youth in a game-culture country spends on average 10.000 hours gaming by 21.
  • >500 million gamers spend >1hour a day playing games.
  • games give us: urgent optimism + social fabric + blissful productivity + epic-winning = super-empowered hopeful individuals.