It’s not all fun and games when Utah’s Wasatch Front has a bad air day thanks to pollution trapped by a weather inversion. But a new computer game developed at the University of Utah puts thumb-twitching excitement into learning about the science and politics of air quality.

“Bad Air Day: Play It Like ‘UCAIR'” is a new web-based game for teens that introduces them to the factors that create the hazy, cough-inducing pollution that plagues the Salt Lake Valley during the winter months. It looks and plays like a 3-D, flying game, but it teaches why Utah’s air-pollution woes are local and frequently misunderstood. A University of Utah chemical engineer and a professor from the U’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering video game program led the team of developers.

The game creators will unveil and demonstrate “Bad Air Day” at the Air Quality in Utah: Science for Solutions workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at noon. The workshop will be held in the Douglas Ballroom of the University of Utah Guest House and Conference Center, 110 S. Fort Douglas Blvd., in Salt Lake City.

Players can check out the free video game beginning Jan. 13 by going to: It is playable on both PCs and Macs and compatible with most web browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Read more in the U News Center