Washington DC [USA], Feb 17 (ANI): The popularity of pathogen outbreak-themed strategy games have surged in recent weeks amid worldwide efforts to curb the spread of the new strain of coronavirus that has killed more than 1600 people.
Plague Inc., a strategy game of the kind mentioned, which was first released back in 2012, has risen to the top of Apple Store charts in China, the United States, and elsewhere. Developed by UK-based studio Ndemic Creations, the game asks players to play as a pathogen, helping it evolve to wipe out humanity.
"Games are a type of cultural expression -- they're part of how we make sense of the world," Washingon Post reported Carly A Kocurek, a cultural historian at the Illinois Institute of Technology, as pointing out. "For some people, horror films are a way to deal with anxiety, and games can be, too."
Interestingly, the surge in the downloads of Plague Inc. had previously been witnessed in 2014-2016 during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
In a statement issued last month, Ndemic Creations noted that since the release of the game in 2012, it has seen an increase in players "whenever there is an outbreak of disease" as "people seek to find out more about how diseases spread and to understand the complexities of viral outbreaks."
"We specifically designed the game to be realistic and informative, while not sensationalizing serious real-world issues," the statement read.
"However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people. We would always recommend that players get their information directly from local and global health authorities," it added.
Coronavirus first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in December, last year, and has since then killed more than 1600 people in that country alone, while cases have been registered in several countries across the world, including India. (ANI)