If you were given the opportunity to end this pandemic on your own, all things considered, would you take it?
Many of us would probably say yes, as we desperately long to take care of things ourselves and go back to our pre-pandemic lives. But then there are those who’d rather leave it to the hands of more experienced officials. Whether you have an answer to that or not, this Filipino-made video game will let you experience what it would be like if you took matters into your own hands in this time of crisis. Maybe then you can decide.
In the Time of Pandemia is a simulation game designed by Cebu-based game programmer Khalil Santia, wherein the gamer plays a crisis manager handling a COVID-19-infected town. The inspiration came from a design sketch made by renowned game designer and Star Wars Galaxies creative director Raph Koster after he called for “an interactive COVID-19 simulation” in a Facebook post.
What inspired In the Time of Pandemia
“I’m at a quarter called Barangay Guadalupe which goes in and out of first place for most number of infections. The once lively streets are empty while yellow tape festoons more and more houses like the aposematism of poison frogs — except it strikes fear in both marked and onlookers alike,” the game-maker said in the preface of In the Time of Pandemia on Newgrounds, an online community where artists like Santia share their respective works.
Pertaining to the Five Stages of Grief by Elizabeth Kubler, Santia said that he’s experienced feelings of denial to a form of suspended depression while being locked down in Cebu. “As if in a fog, I felt helpless as the pandemic tore through the City. I wanted to do something, anything, to help, and perhaps truer, to find a lifeline out of this dark place between helplessness and despair.”
Developing the game, which anyone can play online for free, likewise allowed Santia to articulate his perspective on COVID-19 and battle his personal struggles in the face of the pandemic. “It’s become a welcome respite from isolation, a thread connecting me to a diversity of talents who’ve been truly generous with their expertise and encouragement,” he added. “As incidences continue to rise here and in many parts of the world, our hope is that the game will be of some use in showing what it takes to flatten the curve and in advocating for communities most in need.”
Santia also assured that he has sought the insights of experts with regard to his model’s plausibility, as he welcomes suggestions and feedback from fellow video game enthusiasts. He dedicates In the Time of Pandemia to frontliners fighting against the pandemic.
All images courtesy of ‘In the Time of Pandemic’ via Newgrounds.