Gearbox developers have added an intriguing new minigame to Borderlands 3. It is called Borderlands Science, and you can find it aboard Sanctuary III in the infirmary. It looks like an old-school arcade cabinet (above).
Borderlands Science itself seems somewhat mundane. It’s a tile-matching game not unlike you will find in the thousands on any mobile app store. What makes the game interesting is that it is a backdoor to a crowdsourced project that is mapping the human gut biome. Every time you match a tile sequence in the game, you are also mapping a sequence of microbial DNA.
Gearbox Software partnered with Massively Multiplayer Online Science, The Microsetta Initiative, and MacGill University, to develop Borderlands Science because computers are not perfect. While they are good at mathematical computations, organizing the data in DNA sequencing is another matter.
Computers do much of the heavy lifting when arranging the data but make many mistakes that can corrupt later analysis. By playing the game, users are essentially correcting errors computers have made, and you don’t even have to be a PhD scientist to figure it out.
“Colored tiles representing different nucleotides appear on a grid; by nudging them up within their columns, you attempt to organize them into the correct rows. It’s not always possible to line up all of the tiles correctly, but attempting these puzzles is still helpful as you’re identifying errors in real-world computer analyses.”
While developers made the game fun, it would be hard to create something more exciting than romping through Borderlands 3’s worlds battling baddies. Realizing that the novelty of the puzzle game would wear off quickly, Gearbox added loot as an incentive to play.
As players complete the puzzles in Borderlands Science, they will be rewarded with in-game currency. Vault hunters can use this extra cash to buy skins, heads, and boosters. The boosters are of significant use since they can increase experience gains, buff stats, or improve loot quality, all of which will help in the main game.
Borderlands Science dropped on Tuesday, so as long as you are current on updates, you should find the arcade game in the infirmary aboard Sanctuary III.