Friday Flash Fun: The Great Flu

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A new game developed by experts at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam puts you in charge of a global war against an emerging pandemic. The Great Flu, created by Ranj Serious Games, is designed to give the public an insight into how disease control is managed on a world-wide stage.

Players are given various tools to try and halt the pandemic - early warning systems public information campaigns, face masks and anti-viral drugs, as well as improved research centres and medical services. In addition you can suspend public transport and close schools and businesses, and forcibly quarantine infected members of the public. However, players must chose carefully if they are to win - starting funds are limited to £2bn. The game is very well produced (it was funded by big hitters such as GlaxoSmithKline), and has some great audio / video of experts describing the disease as it progresses.

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Albert Osterhaus, head of virology at the Erasmus Medical Centre says: "The game is based on the need to increase public awareness to the threat posed by a pandemic and the measures in place to contain it". So it's a little disappointing to me that one of the control measures available in The Great Flu isn't 'create a kick ass pandemic game', leading us into a downward spiral of recursion.

If you enjoyed Pandemic, where you score points for culturing a devastating plague, perhaps you can repay your karmic debt to society by switching sides and saving the world. And for once, it can be YOU who closes Madagascar's borders.

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