Can Plague Inc: The Cure save the world?
Vlist, F. van der
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In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Pandemic response actions were instituted to fight the spread of the virus. Such an awareness raising response was the creation of the serious game Plague Inc: The Cure. This game, created in collaboration with the health organisations including the WHO, is based on the entertainment game Plague Inc. However, adapting a serious message into a game can cause a range of problems, such as ludopedagogical dissonance. Against this background, this thesis investigates how the game creates awareness of the pandemic response actions. This is done by establishing and executing a game analysis consisting of text, play experience and context. First, I analyse how the rules of the game create awareness of the acitons by focusing on the concept procedural rhetoric. Second, the game is played in the instrumental and explorative play modes, which demonstrate how ludopedagogical dissonance arises in Plague Inc: The Cure. Third, the findigns of the previous two sections are explored in relation to the context of the game, which consists of the socio-historical contexxt, the production of the game, and the relation to Plague Inc. I find that the game elements trigger players to focus on the vaccine and on winning the game through the creation of strategies. This focus results in ludopedaggoical dissonance, which is the disconnect between the serious intentions of the game, the knowledge allegedly gained through the game and the actual transferred knowledge.