ultrafacts:Ben Duskin, nine years old, was in remission from…


Ben Duskin, nine years old, was in remission from Leukemia. Throughout his course of treatment, Ben played computer games and began to think about the need to have something positive to help others kids battle their illnesses. Ben’s wish was to design a video game that would be helpful for kids like him who have cancer, a way to fight back and relieve some of the pain and stress involved with treatment. Ben got the help from Eric Johnston, a senior software engineer at LucasArts to help design the game.

The object of the game is to destroy all mutated cells and to collect the seven shields that provide protection from common side effects of chemotherapy.  The shields are guarded by a “monster”:
• Colds  – Iceman Monster
• Barf – Robarf Monster
• Chicken Pox –Big Chicken Monster
• Fever – Firemonster
• Bleeding – Vamp Monster
• Hair Loss – Qball Monster
• Rash – Tornado Monster

Three health levels serve as ammunition in the game:
• Health you get from the hospital
• Ammo you get from the pharmacy
• Attitude you get from home

The game was very well received by both patients, doctors, and gamers around the world. It was downloaded over 200,000 times in its first few months. In 2004 Ben was nominated by the Make-A-Wish foundation as “Unsung Hero for Compassion”. In 2005 Ben and Eric both were honored in San Francisco and met with the Dalai Lama.

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