Written by J.A. n, CNN Http, CNN
Will you vaccinate your children for the new video game called “Covid?” It’s as easy as picking up a free game at a Russian amusement park.
The introductory video on the website’s website doesn’t promote the game, it simply says, “Be the hero and save all your friends and enemies!”
Covid, which means “Save” in Russian, is a touchscreen-based game developed by developer Chris Geiger. It’s a combination of shooting and survival themes in which players run around playing through eight levels. Each level has a different goal — such as giving money to buy better weapons, or rescuing your friends from war-torn cities.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the game is not in English, as neither Geiger nor its title are in English. Instead, Geiger decided to create a Russian version instead.
Chris Geiger, creator of the game “Covid,” attends the its media launch in Moscow, Russia on January 19, 2019. Credit: MOSCOW-YONHAP via REUTERS
The Russian title of the game is literally “Doomsday” but Geiger says that he believes in humor and surprises when it comes to games.
“I really want to make people laugh,” he told CNN.
The game also has different difficulties, such as that it requires precise targets, perhaps to avoid gamer self-harm.
Other video games, such as “Hotline Miami” — set in a back alley in a dystopian future — have intentionally left a clue or two for players to find in the game; the website for “Covid” goes out of its way to keep users confused.
Christopher Geiger, developer of “Covid,” plays his new Russian game at the Red Star Volga Resort in Moscow on January 19, 2019. Credit: SERGEI SUPINSKY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
But what exactly is Geiger playing at?
Covid made headlines after it was announced at the beginning of the year, and although its makers say that they haven’t even started marketing the game to potential players, the release date has been set for September 1. However, Geiger has revealed in interviews that he believes it’s wrong to make people understand it and they should just “play it.”
“I believe that there are dumb characters that are more easily trivialized,” he told CNN. “I think that’s a problem, not the Russian people. Russian people are probably smarter than US people but they just don’t understand video games…I think it’s problematic to think that this game is frivolous. I think that people also get hurt.”
If you want to learn more about this concept, Geiger recently published a book titled “Covid: From Russian to Chernobyl,” written as a gift for his friends. It’s a collection of interviews with gamers who express that the game is their “ticket out of loneliness.”
Regardless of what it looks like on screen, at the very least we can confirm that we will be playing the game around 30 years from now. But if Geiger is honest, we won’t be seeing much of his following — and that will be the point of it all.
“[I’m] not going to enjoy myself as much as I would like to in this game, I just want to help others,” he told CNN.