A flash-based game, influenced by the current swine flu pandemic, offers players a simulator/strategy-type taste of real-world outbreak management.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been nearly 178,000 reported cases of the swine flu, including 1,462 deaths worldwide, since it surfaced in April. With that said, it seems highly inappropriate to develop a game inspired by the current pandemic. However, unlike Super Columbine Massacre RPG, this particular flash-based game--called The Great Flu--seems intent on raising awareness.
"It is actually what is happening now, what is happening in the real world," said Albert Osterhaus, head of virology at the Erasmus Medical Center.
The basis of the game challenges players to control a new pandemic, to understand just how difficult the task is in the real world. Taking the reigns of the fictional World Pandemic Control, players first pick a flu strain and then establish surveillance systems, and stockpile vaccines and antivirals with a limited budget; players must also keep an eye on schools and airports. A simulator at heart, The Great Flu forces players into making decisions that affect the entire world.
To keep a tab on the pandemic, the game keeps a running tally of infected individuals displayed over the player's budget. According to Yahoo, various messages from worldwide governments pop up to inform the player of local problems and effects related to the WPC's actions (or lack thereof). Newspapers also keep the player informed, reporting on the global responses to the pandemic, flu-related deaths, and possible riots.
The WHO said that it was not familiar with the game.