How a Videogame Helped Experts Predict Behaviours During the Pandemic

Macam real life, kita patut jadi prepared time pandemik ni, biarlah videogames ke IRL.

Did you know in 2005, pakar-pakar epidemiologi (orang yang research pasal outbreak) studied a videogame incident to help membina SOP masa pandemik COVID-19? Let’s see what they found out!

How did a game predict COVID-19 behaviour?

K so we all know World of Warcraft. A massively popular online multiplayer videogame.

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And this incident happened specifically in 2005. Kalau uolls ingat zaman main kat cybercafe, boleh kira sebagai warga emas la kot 😔

One of the raids introduced gave the boss a spell, called ‘Corrupted Blood’ and it dealt damage over time. It was supposed to only last for a few seconds to players in the area je. Tapi ada somebody buat silap. Ye la kalau takde orang buat silap, tak jadi cerita la kan?

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For some reason, the spell didn’t go away after the time was up. And because it could ‘corrupt’ other players… an infection soon began to spread. Nobody really knew because there weren’t any ‘symptoms’. Seramnya!

So what did players do?

The ‘virus’ quickly spread outside of the area, like the pandemic. Lagi-lagi there were people who thought this was funny, and deliberately spread this ‘virus’ around. Their pandemic behaviour is really similar to what we’re seeing, even with people sengaja tak nak pakai mask 😖 Tapi nasib ada players that would warn others away, some even tried to use healing spells to help those yang kena jangkit.

But because this ‘virus’ could be spread by pets and other players without noticing, many players had their own PKP or MCO. Imagine not being able to rentas daerah in a game! More interestingly, some players didn’t login at all acah2 isolate kat rumah. The developer also issued warnings just like how KKM bagi nasihat untuk membanteras COVID-19.

Pendek cerita, the videogame developers quickly patched the game. Para pakar noted that this behavior reminded them a lot of how people IRL behaved with the COVID-19 pandemic, so diorang research betul2.

Masalahnya… kita semua bukan duduk dalam game.

What did experts find out?

Para pakar perasan cara players bawa diri and the World of Warcraft videogame outbreak resembled how people behaved in the real world. And these behaviours were actually carried out exactly the same way in the game. Ish seramnya!

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Haaa yang ni kak Amal nak citer. They were studying ways to avoid negative behaviours during a pandemic, so there was less panic and people would be more prepared.

Problemnya, COVID-19 was just as unexpected and unpredictable as ‘Corrupted Blood’, so experts ni beri perhatian lebih skit kat game ni. As populations the world over were impacted by COVID-19, experts were racing to find a solution. Especially since this pandemic has shown to affect behaviours, from small adjustments like working from home, or huge changes like mental health and feelings of isolation. Lagi-lagi sebab this pandemik bukan setakat about behaviours, tapi even changes dari working from home atau rasa depress.

Dr. Erif Lofgren, an epidemiologist, buat interview dengan PC Gamer. He said the problem was that people don’t cause problems on purpose tapi dalam game ni, ada players yang sengaja menjangkit players yang lain. Just to annoy others I guess 🙄 But nobody behaves like that in real life, right?

What were people doing during this pandemic?

Dr. Lofgren argued that while there weren’t people deliberately sneezing or coughing onto others, mesej anti-vaksin dan anti-masking were just as harmful. Dalam game pun ada trolls who also lied or spread misinformation about the ‘Corrupted Blood’ incident.

Dalam groupchat players time tu, they spoke exactly like how we did in 2020 when the pandemic was starting out. Experts are still using the incident untuk membina SOP to help governments and organisations to respond faster and more effectively to outbreaks like this in the future. Banyak SOP yang kita ikut sekarang lebih kurang sama macam SOP dalam game tersebut. Even WHO buat guideline untuk belia-belia muda camne nak bawa diri time pandemik.

Sape sangka  that games can help so much in unexpected ways. Especially when it comes to a global pandemic.

So, make sure you double-mask, wash your hands frequently! And to make even more noise, make sure you follow along with the #VaksinNation campaign on social media! (TQ kat AusAid sebab menjayakan kempen ni!)

Interesting kan? Korang tau tak pasal ni? Share kat group geng korang!

Read: 7 things you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Huey Yin
Huey Yin
July 7, 2022 3:03 am

Thank you for writing such an interesting article.

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