Swine Flu Confirmed at PAX

September 9, 2009 -

Organizers of last weekend's PAX convention in Seattle have reported that there are confirmed swine flu cases among attendees. The news comes by way of the show's official Twitter feed. A Boston game developer who was at PAX was reportedly the first official case.

But he's not the only one. An updated list of post-PAX flights taken by additional confirmed swine flu sufferers includes planes headed to Boston, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and St. Louis. Thus are epidemics spread.

Kotaku has a quote on the outbreak from Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade:

This is the real thing. If you get this number of people together in this close a proximity it is the perfect storm for these kind of wild fire virus spreads. We just want to make sure everyone is informed.

For more information on swine flu, check out the web page of the Center for Disease Control.

34 comments

Try to Control Pandemics in New Online Game

August 17, 2009 -

Beware the Gamers Flu - it could wipe out humanity.

This fictional malady, which breaks out in China and Japan following a game convention, is one of five viral illnesses that can be tackled in The Great Flu, a new online game created by reserachers at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.

The Associated Press reports that the object of the game is to prevent a global pandemic:

To fight the emerging outbreak, players use measures including setting up surveillance systems, stockpiling antivirals and vaccines, and closing schools and airports. Players also have a limited budget and are warned that "your actions to control the virus cost money, so keep an eye on it."

A running tally of the numbers of people infected and those who have died sit above the budget. Newspaper stories about the deadly virus and the global response to it — like riots breaking out worldwide — pop up to help players monitor the outbreak.

After a couple of play-throughs, I found The Great Flu to be a real-time strategy affair which is surprisingly enjoyable despite its chilling subject matter. The game challenges players to make difficult, real-world decisions about the timely allocation of healthcare resources when confronted with a potential pandemic. These choices range from relatively inexpensive options such as public information campaigns and distributing face masks, to tougher calls, including massive investments in vaccine or closing schools and airports. One of the game's key lessons - policy makers, take note - is that an aggressive early intervention can save thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

So how did I fare against the Gamers Flu? Not so well. After just a month, 24,000 people had died around the world and there was rioting in the streets of cities along America's East Coast. The great thing about games, however, is that you can always start again.

4 comments

Thai Government May Close Game Parlors Over Swine Flu Fears

July 9, 2009 -

Swine Flu remains a concern in Thailand, where government officials are considering a shutdown of game centers in an effort to control the spread of the illness.

GameCulture reports that Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will decide today whether such a step is warranted. Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai recently named game parlors as hotspots for the spread of Swine Flu. From the GC report:

Thailand, which has recorded more than 2200 H1N1 infections since the virus started spreading globally earlier this year, saw a spike in cases over the past weekend... Interviews with patients pointed to Bangkok's popular gaming cafes as a hub for transmission. On weekends, and particularly during holidays, Thai teenagers crowd into the cafes, where they chat and play games until the wee hours...

16 comments

Swine Flu Keeps Japanese Staff of Square & Koei Away From E3

May 21, 2009 -

Two more video game publishers have pulled their Japanese employees out of the upcoming E3 Expo in Los Angeles due to concerns over swine flu.

Develop reports that Square Enix and Koei join Capcom in withholding Japanese employees from the highly-anticipated show:

Square Enix has cancelled plans for its Kingdom Hearts team to attend the show, whilst Koei has confirmed that an unspecified number of its Japanese employees will not be travelling to the event...

However, like Capcom, both publishers will be represented at E3 by U.S. and European staffers. According to Develop, neither Sony nor Nintendo plan to withhold employees due to swine flu.

AFP reported this morning that there are 281 confirmed cases in Japan, although most are mild. There have been no deaths attributed to the virus in Japan so far and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso urged the public to be calm.

Via: gamebizblog

6 comments

Swine Flu May Impact Capcom's E3

May 19, 2009 -

Just when you thought the swine flu panic was winding down, Develop reports that the virus may impact Capcom's scheduled E3 appearance.

Japan, which has seen a recent jump in swine flu cases, has been closing schools in Hyogo and Osaka prefectures at the request of the government. The outbreak could keep Japanese employees of the Resident Evil publisher away from E3:

Capcom has told Develop that its Japanese arm remains undecided on whether it will be attending the upcoming E3 event in Los Angeles. The publisher has stated however that it will still have a presence at the event with US and UK teams attending...

A spokesperson for Capcom... stated that Japan’s tough travel regulations has impacted on Capcom Japan’s options for E3...

Capcom did however clarify that it will still have a big presence at E3... “The show is in Los Angeles and we have offices in America, so E3 is still on” the spokesperson added.

14 comments

L.A. Convention Center: Swine Flu Looking Like a Non-issue for E3

May 8, 2009 -

Bird flu, mad cow disease, and now swine flu.  It’s probably just a ruse engineered by farm animals to keep themselves off my dinner table.

Be that as it may, H1N1 Influenza A continues to make headlines and gamers want to know if it’s going to negatively affect that annual orgy of video game news that is E3.  Last week, the ESA announced that the gaming expo would proceed as planned and the LA Convention Center Administration Department has now echoed that sentiment in comments to Eurogamer:

The swine flu has not yet affected this part of Los Angeles County (Downtown LA) and we do not expect the outbreak to spread any further than it has already.  The swine flu has in fact declined over the last few days in Los Angeles County.

We hope that by the time E3 is in the building, swine flu will be a thing of the past and no longer a threat to the health of Los Angeles and the rest of the country and world.

Still, just because the ESA and LACC aren’t anticipating an issue with the swine flu doesn’t mean attendees are excused from acting like a pig:

As a precaution, guests are urged to wash their hands regularly and cover their mouths when coughing.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen...

DOCUMENT DUMP: An earlier swine flu-related statement by the LACC, issued on April 27th.

16 comments

Swine Flu Games Continue to Infect the Web

May 5, 2009 -

The feared swine flu pandemic may be fizzling, but online games based on the H1N1 virus continue to proliferate. Today we'll look at two new offerings.

Based on simple keyboard movement system, Stop Swine Flu requires only that players maneuver their character near others and sneeze. Scoring is based on whether one's germs have infected a child, adult or senior citizen.

The game was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, which the New York Times points out is the world's second largest charity, right behind The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Daniel Glaser, who heads special projects for the Wellcome Trust, told the NYT:

We did it to engage the older teen audience and teach them that where you sneeze matters. All the science is embedded in a contest that will look familiar to the YouTube generation.

[The idea of the game is] no sicker than Ring Around the Rosy, which is alleged to date from the time of the plague. People have always caught virus and died. I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about it.

PC Authority points us to the simple-minded Swine Flu: Hamdemic which inexplicably challenges players to hurl pigs across the U.S. - Mexico border.

9 comments

Ian Bogost's Killer Flu Game Simulates Spread of Influenza

May 4, 2009 -

With all of the hype about Swine Flu lately, Ian Bogost points out that his Persuasive Games studio partnered with Traffic Games of Scotland a few months back to create Killer Flu.

The game, built at the request of the UK Clinical Virology Network, teaches players lessons about how seasonal and pandemic influenza spread:

While our game focuses on an avian flu pandemic, the same principles apply to the present situation. The players of the game will find it more difficult than they suspect to create the pandemic the news would have us believe is imminent...

Via: Gamasutra

4 comments

Swine Flu Researchers Study 2005 WoW Pandemic

May 1, 2009 -

Canada.com reports that researchers are learning how pandemics spread by tracking progress of the Corrupted Blood outbreak that occurred in World of Warcraft in 2005.

Prof. Nina Fefferman of Rutgers University commented:

Suddenly, there did exist [in WoW] an experimental framework to watch how people would behave during an epidemic. That's exactly what we worry about in real-world epidemics — the little behaviours that we don't tell people to do or not to do, because we have never seen this happen before.

For those who don't play WoW, or didn't back in 2005, here's how the game's virtual pandemic went down:

Blizzard Entertainment decided that some players' characters had become too powerful, so they created a virus — called "Corrupted Blood" ...The virus quickly infected any nearby character, regardless of its relative strength.

The programmers imposed a mass quarantine, and expected players to take it seriously because "death" can cause their characters to lose items, strength, weapons and armour they had accumulated over many hours of play.

Yet many players ignored the quarantine, spreading the virus. Eventually, more than four million of the game's six million players worldwide were infected, and millions "died."

40 comments

Swine Flu Infects World of Warcraft

May 1, 2009 -

Swine flu may be causing a bit of a global panic just now, but the virus has apparently existed in Azeroth since the days of the Wrath of the Lich King beta.

The pic at left comes from the database at WoWHead, via Giant Bomb.

9 comments

Swine Flu: the Video Game

April 29, 2009 -

Given the recent outbreak of swine flu, could an online swine flu game - perhaps several - be far behind?

Of course not.

The first to emerge is Swinefighter, a game which challenges the player to inoculate as may pigs as possible under the pressure of a time limit. The game's - ahem - viral spread is being helped along by a direct link to Twitter.

Via: VentureBeat

13 comments

Swine Flu Won't Stop E3, Says ESA

April 29, 2009 -

Sure, it's all fun and games - until swine flu decimates the ranks of the booth babes.

Joystiq reports that the ESA does not expect the swine flu bug to impact E3. The video game industry's big dance kicks off next month in Los Angeles.

ESA P.R. guy Dan Hewitt told the 'stiq:

The 2009 E3 Expo is progressing as planned. Public health officials are taking all appropriate steps and we continue to follow their direction on all measures. We look forward to a great event, and to seeing you in Los Angeles in June.

GP: This, of course, could change should swine flu turn pandemic...

UPDATE: ...which it apparently is close to doing as the World Health Organization has raised the pandemic alert level to 5 on its 6-point scale.

How are those contingency plans going, Dan?

Posted in
41 comments

Don't Sweat Swine Flu... David Jaffe's Doctor Says So

April 27, 2009 -

The last few days have seen a rapid escalation of news surrounding the swine flu outbreak which recently began in Mexico.

But not to worry, says noted game designer's David Jaffe's medicine man. In a blog post Jaffe, best known for his God of War series, cites an e-mail sent today by his family doc, identified only as "Doctor Jay" of Santa Monica:

Swine Flu is a virus for which there is no vaccine, no threat to your family and there are undoubtedly tens of thousands of harmless undiagnosed cases throughout the world. The news stories are probably taking a hundred questionable respiratory deaths in Mexico and guessing.

There actually is a very, very small chance that this virus could cause severe illness and whenever this occurs hospitalization and even fatalities are reported. The likelihood of a pandemic is miniscule, but newspapers, governments agencies and the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals do their best work and make their biggest sales when people are scared...

The usual boring admonitions apply: wash your hands, stay well-rested and well-hydrated...

UPDATE: Then again, Reuters reports that the World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert level from 3 to 4. The change indicates that the virus can spead from human to human and cause "community-level outbreaks."

48 comments

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Papa MidnightIt's not bad so far, but I am honestly not sure what to make of it (or where it's going for that matter)07/28/2014 - 9:44pm
Matthew Wilsonis it any good?07/28/2014 - 9:36pm
Papa Midnight"Love Child" on HBO -- anyone else watching this?07/28/2014 - 9:27pm
MaskedPixelanteNah, I'm fine purple monkey dishwasher.07/28/2014 - 4:05pm
Sleaker@MP - I hope you didn't suffer a loss of your mental faculties attempting that.07/28/2014 - 3:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOK, so my brief research looking at GameFAQs forums (protip, don't do that if you wish to keep your sanity intact.), the 3DS doesn't have the power to run anything more powerful than the NES/GBC/GG AND run the 3DS system in the background.07/28/2014 - 11:01am
ZenMatthew, the 3DS already has GBA games in the form of the ambassador tittles. And I an just as curious about them not releasing them on there like they did the NES ones. I do like them on the Wii U as well, but seems weird. And where are the N64 games?07/28/2014 - 10:40am
james_fudgeNo. They already cut the price. Unless they release a new version that has a higher price point.07/28/2014 - 10:19am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, It most likely is. The question is whether Nintendo wants to do it.07/28/2014 - 10:12am
Matthew WilsonI am sure the 3ds im more then powerful enough to emulate a GBA game.07/28/2014 - 9:54am
Sleaker@IanC - while the processor is effectively the same or very similar, the issue is how they setup the peripheral hardware. It would probably require creating some kind of emulation for the 3DS to handle interfacing with the audio and input methods for GBA07/28/2014 - 9:30am
Sleaker@EZK - hmmm, that makes sense. I could have sworn I had played GB/GBC games on it too though (emud of course)07/28/2014 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, the DS has a built in GBA chipset in the system. That is why it played GBA games. The GBA had a seperate chipset for GB and GBColor games. The DS did not have that GB/GBC chipset and that is why the DS could not play GB and GBC games.07/28/2014 - 7:25am
IanCI dont think Nintendo ever gave reason why GBA games a reason why GBA games aren't on the 3DS eshop. The 3DS uses chips that are backwards compatable with the GBA ob GBA processor, after all.07/28/2014 - 6:46am
Sleakerhmmm that's odd I could play GBA games natively in my original DS.07/28/2014 - 1:39am
Matthew Wilsonbasically "we do not want to put these games on a system more then 10 people own" just joking07/27/2014 - 8:13pm
MaskedPixelanteSomething, something, the 3DS can't properly emulate GBA games and it was a massive struggle to get the ambassador games running properly.07/27/2014 - 8:06pm
Andrew EisenIdeally, you'd be able to play such games on either platform but until that time, I think Nintendo's using the exclusivity in an attempt to further drive Wii U sales.07/27/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew WilsonI am kind of surprised games like battle network are not out on the 3ds.07/27/2014 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenWell, Mega Man 1 - 4, X and X2 are already on there and the first Battle Network is due out July 31st.07/27/2014 - 6:16pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician