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Helix, a card game based on your DNA

Among the many ooh and ahh-inducing technological wonders on display in MoMA’s current “Talk to Me” exhibition is the card game, Helix, or rather its prototype. Why does a card game need a prototype, you ask? Because Helix is unlike any other game you’ve ever seen – seriously. For starters, it requires your DNA. Yep, before you can begin the game players send a swab of their saliva to a lab to be analyzed. From that data, the game’s designers create a customized 50-card deck based on the traits and tendencies revealed by your DNA. One card might be for obesity, another for depression and another for curly hair. The game begins when each player lays their cards on the table and engage in duels that “reward strategy and decision making but are limited by genetic reality.”

So while you might have some weak traits in your deck, you don’t necessarily need to play them. The deck allows you to become a “shadow version” of yourself. In the game, as in reality, the outcome depends on how you play your cards. A player with a great deck can still lose if he or she lacks a strategy, while a skilled player with a weaker deck can be victorious. It’s like the real game of Life – no bullshit about how many pink or blue kids you’re gonna have or whether you’ll live in a split-level or the country cottage. And unlike other games in which you have to pick a token and decide whether you’re a top hat, a Scottie dog, or battleship, in Helix you’re just you, right down to your premature hair loss and easily sunburned skin. Game on.