One of the games I played in the early days of the pandemic was Plague Inc. I haven’t done much with that game for a while, after a couple days of many, many rounds at attempted world domination. It was interesting, not a genuine epidemiological model but a clearly expressed way to communicate to a layman like myself how a germ is spread, with plenty of gamified bits added on to keep the player engaged, like the ability to deliberately evolve your pathogen. I liked playing it. It felt sort of ironic and subversive at first, to be playing the game while we were all packed away in our houses. But now is just not the time.
I can say that the human response in the game, even on the easiest setting, was robust enough that humanity typically won. Yes, that means I’m bad at the game. But it was also kind of encouraging. Every time I lost, humanity won. It’s not easy to wipe us all out, thankfully.
Now isn’t really the time for a review of a game like that, though. I don’t blame the game or its makers. It came out 8 years ago. I don’t blame anyone who is playing the game now or having fun in said game or wanting to talk about the game. But I’ve done what I can with it. And now I’ve said what I can about it.
Why’d I choose to write about it even a little bit? Well, I kept thinking I’d get around to talking about it. The right time never seemed to emerge. Now isn’t the right time. But I’ve been feeling paralyzed with anxiety whenever I try to sit with my thoughts this weekend. It was already a topic I’d thought about touching on. With nothing else coming forward, I was left with this. I went with it. Maybe a bad decision, but I’ll live with it.
Stay safe out there, everyone.