Between the corona chill and the sweltering heat outside, I haven’t been doing much out-and-abouting with friends — I had a close circle who I was seeing every weekend, but now it’s more of a every two-weeks kind of thing because people go in and out of isolation. So…I turn to games.
A few weeks back I picked up Plague, Inc which allows players to create a disease (beginning with the basic bacteria/viral/parasite variants, before getting into more esoteric ones like prions, and then fanciful ones like alien mind-worms and a zombie plague), and nurture it to destroy humanity. The player chooses a country for Patient Zero, and then it spreads based on various factors — traffic in and out of the country, climate, etc. As the plague spreads, it racks up DNA points which can be spent on new abilities. What I most appreciate about this game is that every disease has a different profile and so requires a different strategy. I’ve yet to beat all the levels: the Zombie scenario thwarts me again and again, although I’ve found an approach that should work with a little RNG luck. The zombie level is an odd duck, because in addition to the usual disease stuff, the player is also a zombie general, continually resurrecting bodies from the field and sending them forth to invade healthy countries. It has all the frenzy of a game of Red Alert 2!
More recently, tonight, I started playing Bio, Inc. This game allows the player to choose Life or Death; in the Life campaign, they are a doctor analyzing a patient’s symptoms, running tests based on given symptoms, then treating diseases if the tests establish the need. They can also urge the patient to adopt better lifestyle choices, like exercise or mindfulness practices. In the Death campaign, they play as…Satan or something, trying to kill the same poor patient by methodically targeting his or her systems one by one. I love the puzzle aspect of the game, and the graphics are quite well done — the beating heart, the pulsating lungs, etc. What I don’t like is the..game-y ness of it. If the player choses Life, it doesn’t matter if they figure out what the disease is quickly, because there’s an AI playing “Death”, and they will continue inflicting new ones on the patient until a timer runs out. This may not be true in all game modes, though.
Anne Boleyn was a mess here. She turned out to be an anorexic with ovarian cancer, and she didn’t help matters while picking up a smoking habit under treatment.
Testing out the Death campaign. I slowly undermined Homer’s health with insomnia, kidney issues, diabetes, and a few minor sundries. It took a long time for him to go to the doctor, and by that time I had enough of this game’s equivalent of DNA points to give him both lung cancer and leukemia while the doctor was busy with the other stuff.