At Play in the Cosmos


A first-of-its kind resource for the
introductory astronomy course

At Play in the Cosmos is an award winning videogame designed to engage students taking the introductory astronomy course for nonscience majors. In the game, students confront challenges and fly missions that span the entire scope of the course, from basic physics through cosmology.

An Award-Winning Astronomy Experience!

At Play in the Cosmos is the winner of the 2017 Games for Change People's Choice Award!

The Star Chart helps students understand the scale of the universe

The interactive Star Chart allows students to travel between objects in our universe. Populated with well-studied celestial objects, the Star Chart supports instructors' goal of helping students develop an intuitive sense of the scale of the universe.

Introducing CORI

CORI, the Cosmic Operations Research Interface, is your students' control center within the game. At any time, students can tap this button to access:

Star Chart

The Interactive Star Chart, for travel throughout the universe and access to onboard scientific analysis tools, such as the Spectrum Analyzer and Small Angle Tool.


The Missions Button, for access to the missions list, or to switch to Sandbox Mode.


The Data Almanac, for access to the Interactive Simulations and Glossary. Students can also track their Achievements here.


The Engineering Button, where students can access the Crafting System used to repair the ship.

Mission Based, Narrative Driven

The theme of exploration drives student gameplay through a variety of narrative and collection missions. In the guided, narrative missions, each student assumes the role of a search/survey/rescue contractor and takes on the exciting challenges the job offers.

The game's Cosmic Operations Research Interface guides students through achieving goals like finding a habitable exoplanet or redirecting a rogue comet. Along the way, students also need to use the ship's mining tools to collect needed fuel or ore to craft parts for the ship.

In addition, players can freely explore over 50 real objects in the cosmos. They can use the ship's scientific analysis tools, each based on a central concept in the introductory course, to study real astrophysical objects. This "sandbox" mode introduces the possibility of instructors creating their own missions and scavanger hunts.

Engaging, Interactive, Intuitive

Student testers report being immediately engaged by the game's visual style and the voice of CORI. Whether gamers or not, students adapt quickly to the interface and focus on the missions rather than the medium. The game interface, ship design, and sound were all created with input from student focus group participants.

Driven By Real Astromical Data

Whenever possible, At Play in the Cosmos uses data measured for real astronomical objects. From the densities of asteroids in binary systems to the temperatures of the stars in Orion's Trapezium Cluster, the game inspires students to explore astronomy through its stunning depictions of actual objects.

Developed in partnership with W.W. Norton & Co.

At Play in the Cosmos was developed in partnership with W. W. Norton & Co. For more information please contact W. W. Norton Marketing Manager, Katie Sweeney at All images are copyright W. W. Norton & Co.