Microbiology takes a lot of work to do well. Sometimes though, after hours of study and dozing off over your textbooks, you want something a little lighter.
And that’s where microbiology study games come in!
The following are perfect for all students; nurses, medics, highschoolers and yes, even microbio majors…
Ready to take a look?
List of the Best Microbiology Study Games
The microbiology games we’ll be covering are:
- Sporcle Microbiology
- Gut Check: The Microbiome Game
- Microbiology for Kids
- Bacteria Combat
- Quia Microbiology
- WebMd’s STD Name Game
- ProProfs 192 Microbiology Quizzes & Trivia
- Pandemic II
- PurposeGames Microbiology
- Microbe Kombat
If you’re looking for tips on how best to study in microbiology, check out my guide here.
Quiz portal Sporcle is home to hundreds of microbiology specific study games.
The most popular quiz on the site is called Sorting Out the Bugs (pictured). You get 5 minutes to classify 40 infectious diseases (like leprosy, impetigo, cholera and more) into their proper bacteria, viral or other.
Other microbio-based quizzes you can play for free on the site include:
- Hard to guess: virus or not?
- Antibiotic classes
- Microbial environments
These are all user submitted quizzes so don’t expect everything to be 100% accurate but it’s still a fun place to spend some study time.
Gut Check: The Microbiome Game
Gut Check is a free card game you can print, cut out and play at your leisure.
The game can be played between 2-4 players and lasts anything up to an hour.
You’ll see from the cards above that it’s super useful in helping you learn about all thee common pathogens and the symptoms they cause. The aim of the game is to improve your own gut microbiome while damaging that of your opponents.
You can do this via:
- Infection and pathogen cards
- Fecal transplants!
Fans of games like Pandemic, Magic: The Gathering and Dominion will really dig this!
Microrao’s motto is “learning microbiology is fun” and they certainly try to make a hard subject seem easy!
The site is home to both undergraduate and postgraduate level games, including several crosswords (like those pictured), quizzes and drag and drop games.
You’ll find crosswords on general bacteriology, immunology, staphylcoccus, streptococcus, M. leprae and more.
Microbiology for Kids
The American Museum of Natural History’s website has a dedicated microbiology hub that’s mainly for younger learners but still has some appeal to older students.
Their game Bacteria in the Cafeteria is pretty fun. It’s a Where’s Waldo meets jeopardy style run through basic microbio and the role they play in the human body.
Elsewhere on the site you’ll find:
- Gutsy: The Gut Microbiome Card Game: similar to Gut Check but a little more basic
- How Lou Got The Flu: a quiz story about pathogenic illnesses
- What Do You Know About The Human Microbiome: another fun quiz about bacteria that live in the body
OK, it’s nowhere near enough detail for college-based learners but it’s still a cool resource to know about!
Bacteria Combat is a free mobile game that’s available on both iOS and Android.
It’s made by the educational game studio GameDr, who specialize in educational science video games for both young and adult learners.
Bacteria Combat is a top trumps style game that’ll help you recognize common bacteria and their features, as well as teaching you a little bit of pharmacology and the antibiotics used to fight them.
Here’s the video explainer…
Pretty useful in helping you learn the basics.
Quia microbiology is another useful quiz portal that’s a bit different from the norm with it’s browser based games.
Besides the matching game above, you’ll find:
- Hangman games: microbial genetics
- Battleship games: for microbial metabolism, microbes and parasites and bacterial taxonomy
- Matching, word search games: advanced microbial genetics
You could easily spend a couple productive hours here.
WebMd’s STD Name Game
WebMD’s STD Name Game isn’t exactly entertaining but it’s a nice refresher on some of the most common infections you’ll see while studying microbio.
The scenarios are relatively simple but inoffensive and it’s quick to access and run through.
Could act as the perfect warmer activity before a more deeper dive into sexually transmitted diseases.
ProProfs 192 Microbiology Quizzes & Trivia
Similar to platforms like Sporcle and PurposeGames, ProProfs have a ton (192) free microbiology quizzes and trivia games to work through.
There most popular quiz, A Microbiology Exam Practice Quiz, has been attempted over 14000 times.
Most questions are MCQ style and could make excellent practice in the run up to exams.
Although it’s not the most reliable of education games teaching microbiology, Pandemic II is certainly fun.
A free browser-based game that sees you acting as a pathogen attempting to wipe out the world’s population, there are two game modes; relaxed or realistic.
Here’s how the game itself puts it…
This is a strategy game about the danger and threat of an aggressive virus as it slowly spreads its way across the globe. By playing as the virus instead of as medics, researchers, or other members of the medical and scientific communities you will see the mechanisms by which a virus may spread. This is a casual game with simple mechanics that allow for deep meaningful choices on behalf of the player.
As if you were running out of quiz games, PurposeGames has even more practice for you.
Their microbiology section has 239 user submitted games to practice from, on topics like:
- The history of microbiology
- Soft tissue and bone infections
- Structures of gram positive and negative walls
I recommend giving their bacteria shapes game a go first.
Another fun game you can play in your browser (and kind of convince yourself you’re studying) is Microbe Kombat.
At the very least you’ll learn how microbes grow and the potential challenges they face!
This is actually way more addictive than Pandemic II listed above!
Check out this video for instance…
I spent a good half hour myself playing with this while researching this article!
Final Thoughts: Microbiology Study Games
Let’s face it, microbiology requires a lot of memorization to really master.
A more relaxing approach, which you’ll find with some of these games, can make for a nice study break though. As well as testing and reinforcing your knowledge.
Hopefully you’ll find something here to suit you!
If you liked this review, you might find the following articles useful:
- 3 Best Microbiology Anki Decks: Learn Microbiology Fast
- Microbiology Vs Molecular Biology (What’s The Difference?)
Image Credit: @Elena Mozhvilo at Unsplash
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in digital marketing and journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.