World’s first coronavirus online game teaches importance of social distancing

Image Source: Martin Jacob

Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, has come up with what could possibly be the world’s first coronavirus computer game.

Called ‘Can You Save the World?’, the game helps children understand the importance of social distancing in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. It also aims to inculcate awareness about how positive social behaviour taught in online games can impact people’s actions in the real world.

“It’s a fun way of getting quite a scary message across,” said Wiseman.

“There’s quite a lot of research showing that if you get people – kids in particular – to behave in certain ways in video games it really does transfer to real life.”

And what are you expected to do in the game?

Players are supposed to save lives by keeping away from others such as pedestrians and cyclists in busy streets. Further, they can collect PPEs and drop them off for healthcare professionals to save extra lives. Also, they can pick healthy food to gain more lives.

The final goal of the game is to save as many lives as possible. And any guesses on what is the highest possible score for the game? 7 billion – the population of the world!

Professor Wiseman came up with the innovative idea for such a game when he was out for a walk during the lockdown in Britain, where he was dodging and escaping other joggers, walkers, and cyclists.

Soon enough, he got in touch with French game designer Martin Jacob, who is the technical brain behind the game. Together, they created the game in a record two weeks. Otherwise, such an endeavour would generally take nothing less than a month to create.

“It encourages everyone to avoid others and secondly makes the point that it does make a difference,” Wiseman said of the game.

“The score increases rapidly, to show that by avoiding one person you are not infecting others and so they are not infecting others,” he said.

Currently, the game is accessible only on a computer browser. And while it was aimed at children, adults are enjoying it too and the game has gone viral.

Isn’t this a wonderful way to teach people the importance of following social guidelines? Do let us know your views on this computer game in the comments section below.

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