Plague Inc. introduces anti-vaxxers as the world’s next extinction event, proving that games can totally be educational

With the prospects of a chicken pox apocalypse becoming more real with every Karen who won’t vaccinate her kids because other Karens on Facebook claim vaccines cause autism, Ndemic Creations has confirmed that anti-vaxxers will be added to its disease sim so we can adequately prepare for the inevitable.

Based on actual scientific epidemiology and transmission models, Plague Inc. is an unconventional strategy game in which players must wipe out humanity using bacteria, parasites, bioweapons, and other pathogens. Like, I dunno, measles. Since the advent of a vaccine in 1963, measles was almost entirely eliminated in first-world countries – until about 2016, when anti-vaccine conspiracy theories with zero medical basis started infecting social media. In 2018, more than 300,000 cases of measles and hundreds of otherwise preventable deaths were reported internationally because Karen thinks a disgraced doctor accused of fraud, unethical practice, and misconduct is a more credible source of information than every other doctor ever. Karen is the worst.

And so, a petition was launched two weeks ago to include anti-vaxxers in Plague Inc., with the studio promising to make it happen if more than 10,000 people signed it. It’s now at over 20,000, and Karen is officially a threat to the future of existence on both the real and virtual planet.

“We’re currently working out how anti-vaxxers will work in the game — we have a few ideas that we’re trying out and running them through our algorithms,” game creator James Vaughn tells Eurogamer. “The biggest challenge is that if everyone in Plague Inc.’s global simulation suddenly stopped getting vaccinated then it would be a very easy game to win!”

He’s not wrong.

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