What is Plague Inc?
As a game, Plague Inc is a strategy title that puts the player in charge of one type of microorganism infecting a Patient Zero. The player must then guide, and spread their chosen microorganism across the world, mutating it and evolving it to create something that will wipe out the human race. There are many ways to go about this, from the semi-benign that evolves into a killer or the ultra-murderous and terrifying Ebolaesque Virus. It is up to the player to ensure the death of humanity.
A Petition of Change.org
It all began with a thought somewhere, in the head of one “Eduard Gabrian.” that “Anti Vaxxers are stupid.” This lead to starting a petition on change.org to the to the developers of Plague Inc. Their suggestion was to add the anti-vaxxers to the game. The petition may have been started as a joke, but as it made its way around the internet, but it spread much like its namesake, infecting people and it reached epidemic proportions. Needless to say, the infectivity of this petition caught the attention of the developers who tweeted this in response: –
The Plague Evolves
This is the global gaming community on the internet we’re talking about. 10,000 anything is a piece of cake easy and those 10,000 signatures rolled in at the same terrifying speed as the Measles outbreaks reported across the USA and Europe.
Ndemic has previously added and anti-science scenario to the game, based on countries banning scientists, but never based on people choosing to ignore science. With over 20,000 signatures on the aforementioned petition, Ndemic stated that they are “going to start figuring out anti-vaxxers soon” and are “dying to try and get inside their heads.”
Games as Social Commentary
In recent months, the Anti-Vaxxers have made headlines as measles outbreaks affected over 60 people in Washington State. Reports by the Associated Press state that of the 63 cases confirmed in Clark county alone, 55 of those were not immunized against measles. And credit is widely given to the Anti-Vaxxers for stripping much of the “herd-immunity” that has protected genuinely medically at-risk individuals for decades.
Adding such a buff to a game might not seem like much, but Plague Inc. is game which ignited the interest of the Centre for Disease Control due to its design which accounted for so many factors of microorganism morphology and transmission. James Vaughn, creator of Plague Inc. spoke to the CDC in a series of closed lectures about the games design and how the spread of the disease was “as scientific as possible.”
It is a sign of the times, and a telling one, when a Game Designer who has no background in medicine or the sciences, can rightly comment that “Disease is (one of) the big threats… (and) there are enough concerning trends (e.g. antibiotic resistance) without us also making it easier for horrific diseases of the past to come back. People take our modern healthcare for granted and it’s almost impossible for anyone to imagine what the world would be like if everyone routinely got measles. If adding something to the game helps some people understand the importance of vaccinations then it will be worth it.”
For now, it seems that Ndemic Creations has made good on its promise, and deliver this new gameplay scenario where the “Flat Earther theories, climate change denial, and anti-vaccine campaigns are taking the world by storm!”
That means, it’s time to choose a pathogen, and prove why science is real, should be believed, and why you should get your children vaccinated.