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The World Health Organization Are Playing Plague Inc

Mobile game Plague Inc found itself enjoying a morbid revival of popularity last year, as COVID-19 spread quickly across the globe. Originally released in 2012, this strategy game sees you play as the plague, as you infect the globe and develop deadly side effects on a mission to wipe out humanity.

For a topical rebrand, developer Ndemic launched Plague Inc: The Cure last November. This major expansion flips the game on its head, and has players fighting a deadly virus. You take control of a global pandemic response, having to enact lockdowns, implement contact tracing, protect the economy, and care for the population’s mental wellbeing.

It appears public health bodies were more of a fan of this game mode, as the World Health Organization have today announced they put the game to the test, playing it themselves.

Plague Inc: The Cure seems to have gotten the seal of approval from WHO, with Andy Pattison, Manager of Digital Channels, saying: “Educating people through interactive games and simulations is a great way to keep communities informed and safe, especially amid widespread misinformation online.”

On the gameplay, Pattison commented, “From contact tracing to vaccine development and manufacturing, Plague Inc: The Cure encapsulates the complexities of a global pandemic response and highlights how crucial international collaboration is needed to address such a threat.”

Alongside the comments, 46 minutes of gameplay footage was uploaded to the official WHO YouTube channel, so it must have impressed a fair bit.

This is a far cry from the treatment Plague Inc received when the pandemic first hit. The game was actually removed from the China App Store last February, due to “includ[ing] content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China.” While this reasoning isn’t exactly Coronavirus related, the game had otherwise been on the app store for years without issue.

This isn’t the first time Plague Inc has collided with the real world. In 2019, a petition to add anti-vaxxers to the game reached its goal – and the developers acted on player’s demands.

Plague Inc: The Cure is current available for free on iOS, Android, and Steam. While no specific date was given, Ndemic claim it will be free “until COVID-19 is under control.”

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