The current epidemic of the Ebola virus disease, which has claimed over 3,000 lives so far, has caused web traffic to the website hosting the Pandemic game to double since the outbreak.
The web-based Flash game allows the player to create and customise their own microbial agent, in an attempt to infect and kill as much of Earth’s population as possible. The game allows anyone with a stable internet connection to simulate and experience the horrors of a lethal virus, bacteria or parasite that leaves pus and destruction in its wake without having to risk so much as stepping outside their home, a luxury unfortunately not afforded to those residing in West Africa.
Pandemic’s resemblance to real-life events has brought the game back into the public conscience, with number of visitors to crazymonkeygames.com (where the game can be played) doubling 24 hours after news that a man in Texas has contracted Ebola. However, players are quick to admit that the outbreak is rather unrealistic. The main complaint is that no player would ever invest evolution points in lethal symptoms like haemorrhaging this early in the game, and should rather try to get transmission up as quickly as possible. The other is that the virus has managed to spread to two regions without Madagascar closing its ports.