Neuroquest: An Epic for the Ages

Eyewire, citizen science, Neuroquest, fantasy adventure

Once upon a time, in the world we call Eywir, there lived a Neuro-Gnome in a humble little cube, alongside many other Neuro-Gnomes who shared a life of peace and plenty, devoted to their pastimes of cell farming and merger reaping. Their dendritic groves were nurtured by the light of the Golden Ganglion, which grew thousands of miles away but brightened the sky every day, nourishing as any sun; though the Neuro-Gnomes understood little of that great, mystical tree, they always gave thanks to it as the source of their bounty. Even when the Golden Ganglion folded its glowing blossoms and allowed darkness to fall, praise was rendered for the beauty of the night itself.

Yet one day the sky dimmed before the proper hour, and the light did not return until latest morning. Then this long night came for a second time, and a third. The Neuro-Gnomes and all the peoples of Eywir grew afraid at this threat to the world’s prosperity. But they thought they could do little, until on a shadowy evening this one Neuro-Gnome heard a knock at the door. There stood a tall figure, hooded and cloaked in black, carrying a scythe, and it spoke in a wise whisper: “Greetings.”

“Why, you’re the Grim Reaper, aren’t you?” cried the Neuro-Gnome in surprise, though not in fear, for legend spoke of the Reaper as the immortal wizard who had taught the Neuro-Gnomes how to tend their cells. “Er, do come in and have a pot of tea! This is a splendid turn of events.”

“Alas, there is no time for tea, O mortal gnome. There is no time even for a proper prologue. For the Golden Ganglion hath withered in a drought that did blight its land, and thou art the Chosen One, the sojourner foretold in prophecy, who shall restore that tree of light with the Waters of Wisdom. Make haste, collect thy most trusted companions, and follow me to the fountain where the Waters of Wisdom flow. The fate of Eywir hangs in the balance!” the Reaper decreed, looming intensely.

At this, the Neuro-Gnome blinked. “You want me to travel off to who-knows-where, carrying a bit of water? But I don’t understand any of this Chosen One business!”

“O mortal gnome, all shall be made clear. And in the meantime, it is said that Neuro-Gnomes enjoy bonus points, so thou wilt be amply rewarded for thy travails.” And with these words by the Reaper, thus began the epic Neuroquest. But how shall it end? What’s this prophecy? How do seasons work in a world powered by magic tree-light? You will only learn the answers to these questions if you gather your party and venture forth!

competition, neuroquest, eyewire, calendar

*All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).*

Accuracy Happy Hours

First session runs from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Friday 4/21
Second session runs from 10:00 PM to 11:59 PM on Friday 4/21

Here you stand at the Waters of Wisdom, but they cannot be contained in any ordinary cup. From a collection of vessels you must accurately select the Goblet of Science.

1st Place Accuracy – 10,000 points
2nd Place Accuracy – 8,000 points
3rd Place Accuracy – 6,000 points
Achieve 95% Accuracy – 5,000 points
Achieve 90% Accuracy – 3,000 points
Achieve 80% Accuracy – 2,000 points
1,000 points for anyone under 80% who still plays at least 20 cubes in either slot.
(These bonus thresholds are non-cumulative, i.e. they will not combine. If you earn 3rd place, for instance, and presumably got over 95% accuracy, you still earn a 6,000 point bonus, not 11,000.)

Evil Cubes

Begins at 12:01 AM on Saturday 4/22
Ends at 12:00 PM on Thursday 4/27

A bitter storm forces you into the ancient Caves of Carbonum. It is rumored that therein lie glittering cubes of adamant, whose deceptive beauty will corrupt the hearts of those who fail to crush them.

1st Place Accuracy – 8,000 points
2nd Place Accuracy – 5,000 points
3rd Place Accuracy – 3,000 points
1,000 points for anyone under 80% accuracy who still plays all 12 cubes.
(These bonus thresholds are non-cumulative, i.e. they will not combine. If you earn 3rd place, for instance, and presumably got over 80% accuracy, you still earn a 3,000 point bonus, not 4,000.)

Riddles in the Dark

Begins at 11:00 AM on Sunday 4/23
Continues until 11:00 AM on Tuesday 4/25
Finishes with Power Hour from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesday 4/25

In a tangled forest, you find a strange creature filled with questions of the world beyond such shadowy woods. What do you know about fantastic fiction and neuroscience? Participate in trivia + trivia power hour for bonus points. 1 question per hour for the main trivia timeframe, 1 question every 2 minutes for the power hour.

For every question —
1st to answer – 300 points
2nd to answer – 200 points
3rd to answer – 100 points

Order vs. Chaos

Begins at 11:00 AM on Tuesday 4/25
Ends at 11:00 AM on Wednesday 4/26

As you pass into the kingdom of Neurondolin, grievous tidings await you: the people of this land are at war with one another, some to advance the cause of Order, some to advance the cause of Chaos. Whose side will the bearer of the Goblet take?

Earn 5,000 points – 2,500 bonus
Earn 15,000 points – 5,000 bonus
Earn 25,000 points – 10,000 bonus
Every additional 25,000 points – 5,000 bonus
Winning team – 10,000 bonus
Team winner – 5,000 bonus
#1 overall score – 10,000 bonus
#2 overall score – 5,000 bonus
#3 overall score – 2,500 bonus

The Golden Ganglion Marathon

Begins at 8:00 AM on Wednesday 4/26
Ends at 8:00 AM on Thursday 4/27

At last, you have carried the Goblet of Science to its final destination. Can you now help the great Golden Ganglion grow back to life and restore light to this world?

Complete 20 cubes – 2,000 point bonus
Complete 50 cubes – 5,000 point bonus
Complete 150 cubes – 20,000 point bonus
Complete 300 cubes – 40,000 point bonus
For every 150 cubes above 300 cubes – 2,500 points

If the cell is completed within 24 hrs, those mappers who:

  • Complete at least 50 cubes will win rights to vote on a new name for the Golden Ganglion.
  • Complete at least 200 cubes will win rights to nominate a new name for the Golden Ganglion.

Neuroquest Closing Ceremony

Begins at 4:00 PM on Friday 4/28

Come celebrate the end of this competition, where admins will recognize everyone’s achievements. As always, we will include a round of promotions for Scouts, Scythes, Moderators, and Mentors. If you’d like a promotion, you can request them here.

Artwork by Daniela Gamba

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