I caught the Plague from my brother Joboy, and got my friend Zuen infected. It transmits for free from Google Play. Plague is a hyperreal simulation-strategy game that puts you in control of various pathogens–from viruses to spores, and even to bio-weapons–with the sole purpose of destroying humanity.
Oh, no. Not just bringing it down to its knees. Not just crippling humanity by seeing how many people of the world you can get rid of. You need to completely, utterly destroy humanity by killing off everyone on planet Earth. Every, single one of them.
To do this you may spread an infection so insidious that people don’t develop a cure until it has spread far and wide, or you can create one so lethal it kills everyone it touches and passes on the infection post-mortem. It’s up to you.
You can monitor the spread of your infection through the red dots that spread throughout the map. Yes, the gameplay is basically just staring at a map of the world and watching it turn red. But it’s so engrossing, there’s no room to be bored. You earn DNA points as your pathogen progresses, develops, matures, mutates. You use the DNA points to customize how your pathogen will behave.
Here are some things I love about this game:
1.) Hyperreal situations – Throughout the game, you will encounter events that will effect the game play. For example, an Olympics might be held. If you can get the infection to the host country, you can increase the transmission of the infection significantly as infected athletes will bring the infection back to their home town. Or, once you decide to use rats as a mode of transmission, a country might start to eradicate rats, thereby foiling your plans.
2.) You learn without meaning to. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the information and facts are written so crisp and neat that you don’t notice how much you’re learning about infections and pathogens and medicine while playing the game. It’s a very, very, very tricky job to write in information without interrupting the simulation/ gameplay.
3.) Humor – The designers of the game have a dark sense of humor. They managed to insert quirky, snide jokes disguised as “world events”.
Zuen and I got so hooked that when we went to Baguio for an event, instead of going around town and seeing the sights (read: getting drunk and hooking up with strangers) we decided to stay indoors and watch plague movies. Namely:
Which is a so-so movie boasting with a stellar cast. This movie unfolds like a Discovery Channel special on, well, contagion. It’s a walk-through of how a contagion starts, spreads, and is stopped by the CDC/WHO/The Scientific World. It even has that quiet, unobtrusive visual language that makes you feel like you’re watching a documentary. We weren’t so much engrossed by it as amused at how much the movie and the game Plague resembled each other.
The other movie we saw was World War Z.
It’s really fun to watch the world lose its shit. In yet another movie where the whole world is infected by something no one knows what, World War Z chronicles what felt was a day in the life of Brad Pitt. It’s kinda hard to think of Brad Pitt’s character as anyone else but Brad Pitt. He seemed to be a super soldier/agent/negotiator for a branch of government that’s cold hearted enough to kick out his family if he doesn’t do as they say. Also, he’s smart enough to figure out a cloaking mechanism to make healthy people imperceptible to the infected (zombies). What are you, Brad Pitt? In a world where all major flights were cancelled, he managed to hitch a ride to the WHO center… on a plane going to India.
To end our weekend marathon of the world losing its shit, we watch the quintessential buddy movie of the year: This Is the End.
Today’s bratpack of comedy bands together playing themselves in the end of days. Movie stars and buddies Jay and Seth find themselves in the middle of a Judeo-Christian Apocalypse, aka Armaggeddon, aka Rapture, aka End of Days. As demons walk the earth and the worthy are beamed up to party in Heaven, these young Hollywood stars from the Judd Apatow School of Manboy Comedy must face the biggest apocalyptic threat to their survival and redemption… each other.
It’s fun to watch these dudes make fun of themselves and each other. Also, this proves what everyone’s thinking: that given the chance, anyone would put Channing Tatum on a leash, have him wear leather made from cannibalized stragglers, and make him hump your leg all day.