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October 18, 2021
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  AXON: Your brain has over 100 trillion connections - how many can you make?
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[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press.]

AXON is the latest addition to Wellcome Collection’s growing portfolio of free online games which has been commissioned to accompany their latest exhibition  Brains: The Mind as Matter . It was launched on 19th March 2012.

Designed for mainstream audience and targeted specifically at games portals, AXON offers players a rare glimpse of how the brains is formed and an ‘inside the brain’ introduction to the strange world of neurons, proteins and axons. 

AXON is set inside a foetal brain, modelling real biological phenomena found in neural development. The game challenges players to grow their neuron as long as possible; climbing through brain tissue, out-competing rival neurons and creating as many connections to distant regions of the brain as they can.

AXON was developed by BAFTA winning games studio Preloaded for Wellcome Collection, through an exciting collaboration with ‘Brains’ exhibition curator Marius Kwint and neuroscientist Richard Wingate. Taking the anatomy of the brain as a starting point, and a video showing the microscopic growth of neurons in a chicken’s brain, the team brought scientific and games-making expertise together to create a challenging, enjoyable game that has its roots in real science. A concise explanation of the science behind the game, the video, and links to Wikipedia articles on neuroanatomy are included, as part of an holistic scientific approach to casual gaming.

Wellcome Collection website editor Danny Birchall said: “AXON follows the highly successful High Tea in Wellcome Collection’s project of developing engaging and educational casual games for the general public that explore the connections between medicine, life and art. With its punchy biological aesthetic and unique gameplay in which you ‘are’ a neuron, we hope the game encourages players to see and understand the human brain in new and exciting ways.”

AXON builds on Wellcome Collection’s ongoing strategy to use games for both engagement and education, and follows the huge success of the High Society exhibition game High Tea, which explored the nineteenth-century British opium trade in China.

Game URL:

Embeddable Trailer: (password: ax0n)

Twitter tag: #axon

Related information

Brains: The mind as matter

Wellcome Collection's major new exhibition will look at one of the most complex entities in the universe. Brains: The mind as matter (29 March to 17 June 2012) explores what humans have done to brains in the cause of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change. Featuring more than 150 objects including real brains, artworks, manuscripts, artefacts, videos and photography, Brains follows the long quest to manipulate and decipher the most unique and mysterious of human organs, whose secrets continue to confound and inspire.

Marius Kwint, Guest Curator, says: "Brains shows how a single, fragile organ has become the object of modern society's most profound hopes, fears and beliefs, and some of its most extreme practices and advanced technologies. The different ways in which we have treated and represented real, physical brains open up a lot of questions about our collective minds."

High Tea (

High Tea was also developer by Preloaded and has achieved over 3 millions players and achieved critical success at GDC and nominations for a BIMA and SXSW award. For more information about this project please refer the project’s evaluation report authored by Wellcome Collection:

About Preloaded (, @Preloaded)

Preloaded is an award winning games studio making casual and social games with purpose. Their clients range from broadcasters and NGO’s through to brands, including the BBC, Channel 4, Wellcome, Tate, Parliament Education, Turner Broadcasting and Disney. Awards include BAFTA, BIMA, SXSW, MEGA and British Television Awards. They are based in Shoreditch and have just celebrated their 11th Birthday.

Wellcome Collection ( @ExploreWellcome)

Wellcome Collection is a free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. The building comprises three gallery spaces, a public events programme, the Wellcome Library, a café, a bookshop, conference facilities and a members' club. Wellcome Collection is part of the Wellcome Trust, a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. The Wellcome Trust supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities; its breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. The Trust is independent of both political and commercial interests.

Contact details

Media contact, Preloaded

Natalie Lambert                                                                                              

Press Officer

Telephone +44(0)207 684 3505                                          

Email  [email protected]                                               

Media Contact, Wellcome Collection

Tim Morley

Senior Media Officer  

Telephone +44(0)20 7611 8612

Email  [email protected]