Simulation games are popular for their ability to inspire players to say “one more turn.” They’re addictive because they give us a sense of calm achievement. Rather than overcoming a goal the game sets as ideal, we set and reset our own, giving us more control over how we have fun in-game. So what do you think of a video game about this pandemic?
The first priority is to minimize death
A 38-yr old Filipino, Khail Campos Santia, is the brain behind this video game “In the Time of Pandemia” (ITOP). According to Santia, his team consists of two artists, three composers, and an epidemiologist. The epidemiologist is May Anne Estrera Mata, Ph.D., an alumna of the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington and a professor at the UP Mindanao. Aside from that, medical professionals helped in this game’s development as testers.
Players must decide so the community can survive the serious health crisis. In this game, they have test kits, access to medical facilities, quarantine areas, and a budget. In short, they will play the role of crisis manager of a town under the grip of COVID-19. Santia explained that to win the game, there are three goals that gamers have to reach. He said, “The first (goal) is to minimize deaths. The second, to keep down the incidence rate. And third, to spend public funds as efficiently as possible.” Players should be able to complete these tasks by performing five actions and combining them. These actions are buying tests, testing, isolation, lockdown, and treatment.
Educate the youth about the crisis
The game developer said the aim of ITOP is to “to address the lack of a fully interactive simulation in the public discourse on COVID-19. We believe this is crucial because deep interaction can engage and teach people in ways that complement other media.” He added that they are targeting the youth since they pay attention to this kind of medium. Even though young people are generally not at risk, they can still spread the virus to vulnerable members of their communities.
Those who want to pass their time during the MECQ can try playing ‘In the Time of Pandemia’. According to Santia, “It’s been shown that the games industry is one of the few sectors experiencing a surge during this quarantine because people have little else to do. We certainly have that in mind. ITOP is a free game but we knew there’s a willing audience for it.”
We still do not know if this game will become a huge hit. But one thing is for sure. The launch of “In the Time of Pandemia” is pretty timely since it can probably help gamers reflect on the present crisis situation. You can click this link to access the game.
Do you think this game is interesting?
Queenie Lasta got her bachelor's degree in Communications Research from UP Diliman. In her free time, she likes to read thriller novels, psychology books, and mangas. She believes in the importance of grit, hard work, and passion to become a great writer in the future.