‘I Expect You To Die’ Studio Releases Educational VR Chemistry Game ‘HoloLab Champions’

And it's free to teachers and students


Schell Games, the studio behind popular spy-themed VR puzzle I Expect You To Die (2016), today launched a VR chemistry lab practice game that aims to get students excited about chemistry by gamifying an otherwise time intensive (and possibly dangerous) lab learning experience.

Dubbed HoloLAB Champions (2018), the VR chemistry practice game is now available on HTC Vive via Steam for $8 (regularly $10). HoloLAB Champions is however free for educational instructors, students, and facilities. Eligible users can request educational copies of the game at on the company’s website.

Here’s what Schell Games has to say about HoloLAB:

In a game show-style setting, HoloLAB Champions guides players through a series of mini-labs that lead up to a final lab challenge. Earl, the holographic host, is a friendly commentator, armed with a fun sense of humor and a few eye-rolling science jokes. The camera-bot, Meyer, is his irreverent sidekick. Players score achievements based on their ability to perform tasks safely and accurately. Those who complete an event are awarded an elemental trophy and can take their place among the famed Hall of Brains. There is also a Practice Mode available, where players can hone their skills to prepare for the main event challenges.

The game was primarily designed for a single players, targeting students aged 14-18, but can be played in a group setting for immediate group and instructor feedback. Schell Games also offers a written classroom guide to help teachers integrate the game into their classroom and guide students through the labs. The added benefit is here is clearly safety—there aren’t any dangerous spills or lab equipment breakages in VR.

Image courtesy Schell Games

Schell Games says the game is a “companion tool to an in-person high school chemistry lab experience,” with two 30-40 minute episodes to teach players basic lab skills, procedures, and protocols.

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The first episode is ‘Chemiluminescence’, where students need to mix correct amounts of liquid and solid ingredients to create a glowing chemical solution. The second episode, ‘Identify Unknowns’, presents students with a set of substances and, with limited reference information, players must correctly identify each substance.

Image courtesy Schell Games

“HoloLAB Champions is important because it teaches students about science and lab safety in an environment that is both educational and engaging,” said Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games. “Virtual reality is still a new and relatively untapped space so we are excited to see it being used in classroom settings. We look forward to gauging its effects on learning outcomes and student engagement in the future.”

HoloLAB Champions was funded in part by a SBIR grant from the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, and further refined with the help of students, educators, and RAND Corporation, a non-profit global policy think tank.

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  • Wednaud Ronelus

    I am a STEM Educational Research Scientist. I am looking forward to enact this curriculum unit in “Alchemist Club Studios” Learning environment. I will keep you posted.

    Dr. Ronelus

  • Really exciting to know that educators are using gamification to teach chemistry online. Hopefully this encourages students to be more engaged in their learning!

  • CazCore

    right before i heard of this being developed i was wishing for such a thing. such a great tool for education. schools need to employ VR as soon as possible.

  • G-man

    if they made a version for the go it would be perfect.

  • Trenix

    Say what you want, I love educational games if they’re done right. Learning should be fun and the education system does nothing but make it stressful.

  • Ingel Soong

    This is really a cool development. I am really excited to see how it can be used for education.