Pandemic II Review by Sunny Liu

Game Basics

• Choose different types of symptoms to start the game. What type of symptom did you choose?
Why?[+1]

I chose the the virus because it spreads and evolves really fast and have the fastest possible game. Having played this game a few time I know how long it can take.
• What are evolution points and how do you get them?[+1]

Evolution points are obtained by spreading your disease.
• How does your evolution help spread your disease?[+2]

It helps by making your disease tougher, spreads faster and kills more effectively.

• Read the breaking news on the left corner. What is happening in the world and how does it inform your
strategy?[+2]

So if my country is not going to first worlds, I would invest in the immunities to drug and also I don’t want to my disease known till I am killing people so I have to be careful with my evolution.
• Looking at the map, what countries are the hardest ones to infect and why?[+3]

Madagascar in this version for sure because there is only one way in and out. In their more recent version which is a full game that is on steam, Greenland and Sweden are huge pain.

 

Theme Insights

What kinds of traits did your disease begin the game with? How did those affect your strategy?[+1]

Mine started with coughing I believe which was nice it’s visible but not that serious and helps spread the disease nicely.
• How effective was your disease against humanity? Would you evolve in the future? Why?[+2].

I failed because of Madagascar, I think I would probably choose the more discrete evolution to avoid getting detected and save the more lethal ones for later.
• How do natural disasters in the world help your disease spread faster? [+2]

Things break down and make people go to shelters and lower their living standards which helps transmissions.
• For the countries that were not infected, why did the infection not spread?[+3]

For me personally, a cure was developed since I was hasty and the countries turned against me.

World Connections

• What is a pandemic? How is it different from an epidemic?[+1]

The former is something that can affect the world while the latter is on a significantly smaller scale.
• Have any pandemics ever happened during your lifetime? What were they and how did they affect the
world?[+2]

The ebola virus right now is quite dangerous but it probably will not have major impact upon first world countries. Cancer is also another one if I just generalized the diseases.
• How do nations work to prevent pandemics?[+3]

Report the symptoms, create cure and drugs to help patients. Research the disease and micro-organisms and develop immunizations. Fold it.
• If the disease you created in your game was unleashed against humanity in real life, how effective do you think it would be? Would humanity be able to stop it be before it spreads out of control? Why?[+3]

Well, cells don’t evolve THAT  fast, it takes generations but anything is possible. I also don’t think the people in that game shower or washes hands. Humanity would probably be able to stop it, because in that game humanity reacts extremely slowly in the beginning and in real life we are progressing every day.
• How can a game like Pandemic II be useful against actual pandemics? [+3]

It can mimic the way diseases can spread depending on the place of origin and the type of disease and therefore help contaminate the infection and help the victims.

Spent

Game Basics

Choose a job, and play through the month. How did your choice impact your month?

I chose to be a waiter in a restaurant, because I just needed to work 3 hours per day and had 3 days off. So I had more time to take care of the kids, and I gave the kids all they wanted.

Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice?

I chose to live in the place near my working area, because I can reduce uses of car and cut down the cost in cars. Although the rental fee was a little bit higher, but it was still cheaper than monthly car insurance.

Theme Insights

How do different jobs affect someone’s living?

I lost the job at 24th day of the month, so I could not make it through one whole month. Because waiter is the job of low threshold, anyone can apply for this and the employer can kick anyone out easily. Being a waiter is a job with instability, so I was worried about being kicked out all of the time.

How did the financial challenges affect your morals and decisions?

I did not go to my friend’s wedding just because I could not afford the air ticket, and I was unable to pay the loan which will affected my credit which I was unable to take care of. I would take the rick of driving without insurance just because no money.

World Connections

How did playing change the way you think about your own or other’s struggles with money?

After playing this game, I feel more to understand those people standing by the road and asking for money. Some of them do have trouble in life, maybe many of them have a big family to feed. Also, this game taught me that life is not easy, there are a lot of worries waiting for me.

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn?

I think a good management of money is necessary. I spent money unconsciously within one week just because the cost was not high. However, I could not pay the loan at the next week. So if I have a overview of which money I really have to pay at the beginning of the month, I think I would make a good plan and put the money in good use.

Sam Robison: Pandemic II

Game basics:

  • Choose different types of symptoms to start the game. What type of symptom did you choose? Why?[+1]

 

I choose to keep the symptom it gave me, sneezing, and to not add any more so that the disease would not be as noticeable and then when my virus would be in a bunch of people to get rid of sneezing so that it would be even less noticeable.

 

  • What are evolution points and how do you get them?[+1]

 

Evolution points are used to increase traits of your disease like lethality, infectivity and resistance to the elements and drugs.

 

  •  How does your evolution help spread your disease?[+2]

Evolution helps the disease spread by either making it more infective with symptoms, increasing its resistivity to the elements or transmitting in a new way.

 

  •  Read the breaking news on the left corner. What is happening in the world and how does it inform your strategy?[+2]

The breaking news lets you change you strategy according to the world events currently happening. If Mexico is in a drought and you want to expand there you wouldn’t want your only transmission type to be waterborne

 

  •  Looking at the map, what countries are the hardest ones to infect and why?[+3]

Madagascar is the hardest to infect because its an island and the only kind of transportation it has to it is a harbor that doesn’t take in very many boats. Japan is also hard also because it is similar to Madagascar but instead of a harbor it has an airport.

 

Theme insights :

 

  •  What kinds of traits did your disease begin the game with? How did those affect your strategy?[+1]

The trait my virus started with was sneezing which was very visible so my solution was to wait until my disease was established and then get rid of the trait so my disease would be more hidden.

 

  • How effective was your disease against humanity? Would you evolve in the future? Why?[+2]

My disease was very effective against humanity it infected every country except for Madagascar. I would try this strategy again but get rid of sneezing sooner so that they wouldn’t notice my disease as quickly

 

 

 

  • How do natural disasters in the world help your disease spread faster? [+2]

They make people come together more and help increase transmission.

 

  • For the countries that were not infected, why did the infection not spread?[+3]

The infection did not spread to Madagascar because the port shut down before I could infect it. It would have been a better idea to have my disease stay under the radar longer.

 

World Connections

 

  • What is a pandemic? How is it different from an epidemic?[+1]

A pandemic is a disease prevalent over a whole country or the whole world. An epidemic is a disease prevalent over a community.

 

  •  Have any pandemics ever happened during your lifetime? What were they and how did they affect the world?[+2]

AIDS could be considered a pandemic because it is prevalent through out south Africa. It is also present everywhere else in Africa and throughout the world.  It has effected the world because there is a world wide effort to halt the spread of this disease. Just like in pandemic when your disease becomes too big.

 

  • How do nations work to prevent pandemics?[+3]

The nations in the game do things like shutting down borders, closing airports, closing schools, and if all else fails shutting down hospitals. When polio became bad in America they had similar tactics. The closed schools down and enacted curfews. I think the game is pretty close to what countries do in real life.

 

  • If the disease you created in your game was unleashed against humanity in real life, how effective do you think it would be? Would humanity be able to stop it be before it spreads out of control? Why?[+3]

I think my virus would be very effective against humanity because it is a virus and it is next to impossible to cure a virus. That is why there is no cure for the common cold. Humanity’s best hope would to have a vaccine that would make it unable to infect anyone else.

 

  • How can a game like Pandemic II be useful against actual pandemics? [+3]

It can be useful because it educates the pubic about how countries deal with pandemics. It can teach people to cooperate with the government’s attempt to halt the spread of disease.

Janelle Wilke: Spent

GAME
Choose a job, and play through the month. How did your choice impact your month? [+1]
My choice was a 2nd shift warehouse worker. The job had steady income & hours, but also came with physical strains like backaches and exhaustion. Also, it is not flexible when things go wrong (for instance, when my car ran out of fuel and I was late for work).
Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice? [+2]
I lived at the $830 mark, closer to the place I work. While the cost for living is higher per month, the travel costs are minimal and I am not left without options if I need to find alternative means of reaching the workplace —I’m close enough for other forms of transportation. 
What were some extra ways you made money? What were unexpected costs? [+3]
I made money through garage sales and donating plasma. The unexpected costs were immensely higher. I had issues with a tooth I needed to get surgery for ($800), a car loan that needed to be paid ($500), as well as avoiding paying off my credit card debts.
THEME INSIGHTS
How do different jobs affect someone’s living? [+1]
Some jobs can be more flexible to hard times, but the pay and unstable hours may have more negative impacts. A more stable job requires that I put in more effort to make sure I do not lose that job.
What did you choose regarding your child’s afterschool activities? Why? [+2]
I would almost always pitch in so my child could participate in after school activities, because I feel like in real life, I would want my child to have as many opportunities as possible. The area where I opted out was when they felt embarrassed to be on a free meal plan and being perceived as a poor kid. I thought what food they had would not affect any future opportunities for them. The result was that my kid would decide they’d rather not eat at all.

 

How did your priorities change during the month? What does being financially responsible mean? [+3]

Some days, if I could pay a bill with at least a $100 cushioning, I would do it (especially if it was near a payday) to avoid up charges and debt in the future. Most of the time, however, I could not afford the setbacks. I think financial responsibility means trying to stay on top of payments and avoiding debt; either investing or holding back with some foresight of future cost to yourself and others.

 

WORLD CONNECTIONS

When have your own financial concerns affected your choices? How were your choices influenced? [+1]

When I have had financial concerns, I would wind up avoiding get-togethers that I knew would have some sort of cost. I got in a good habit of only eating out two meals per week (2 of 21 meals), and -if necessary- I would borrow from my parents. I have always made sure I could afford what I’ve bought, however in one case at the end of last semester, I had to spend $150 on school supplies. I charged it to my credit card, knowing I couldn’t afford it right away. Thankfully I got a job with a bi-monthly paycheck just in time! My parents make it open to come to them for help with money, so I’ve never been in true jeopardy. But I try to avoid seeing them as a way out.

How did playing change they way you think about your own or other’s struggles with money? [+2]

It makes me more empathetic to the struggles they have. I have a co-worker who has nearly all of the issues that came up in this game… no car, not enough food, always asking for money, taking “sick days” off when he could use them to make money. Some of his choices I just couldn’t understand, but this game helps put a bit of it into perspective. And I cannot blame someone -even in a poor financial situation- to be 100% frugal, as I cannot even set that expectation for myself. And if you cannot enjoy life once in a while, then it makes the efforts seem so pointless when relief is not on the horizon.

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn? [+2]

I learned a bit about the impacts that poverty has -psychologically- on a child. Figuring out ways to allow a child to have a normal life while trying to avoid spending is challenging and a bit of a balancing act.

 

Peter Talavera : Minecraft

Minecraft is a very different and unique game, because it is a game that only entails the player to build whatever they want with the tools available to them. The game starts with my avatar in the middle of a randomized terrain (near a lake in a forest biome). Immediately, I begin gathering materials starting with the trees for wood. These materials allowed me to craft tools which would allow me to gather more resources and at a faster pace. When night fall was about to occur, I created a small hole in a mountain, set up an improvised camp and block the entrance so monsters could not get inside. Then I would mine more materials through digging downward and exploring caves. I repeated this process of going out and exploring and creating on the surface at day, while doing the same thing underground at night, making unique creations like a house or new caves.

I would make multiple chests to store my resources when I need to make room in my inventory. Then only take the particular resources I would need for whatever task I am doing. When acquiring rare resources, I would use them to create valuable tools or creations. For creations I would set it up for my unique creation, but for the tools I would save only for when I really need it to lengthen its use, particularly diamond. Unfortunately,   diamond was really hard to come by as it’s mainly found in areas near lava which can be hazardous and even then are a rare find. All I could do was be patient and careful and then I would be rewarded with the materials

There are a lot of resources that can easily be renewed like plants and food sources provided the necessary steps are taken to ensure a continued source such as a garden, but things like coal and redstone were finite and can only be used as much as you can find like oil in the real world. Creating things such as a garden to grant ones own plants and trees required first knowing the steps to renew that resource, then creating a system to implement that  such as an irrigation system and soil to plant, and finally performing the action and waiting the required time need

Pedro Moreira : Spent

Game Basics

Choose a job, and play through the month. How did your choice impact your month?

I decided to choose the Restaurant, trying to avoid the stress from office and the physical work from the warehouse, but in the other hand I had less money.

Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice?

I chose to live the most near possible, so in case of car problems, I would still be able to go to work. As consequence, the rent price got very high.

Theme Insights

How do different jobs affect someone’s living?

Some jobs provide better salaries, but also may require more physical resources or are more stressful. So, take the job with the best salary isn’t always the best job, once the negative effects can be very expensive.

How did the financial challenges affect your morals and decisions?

Throughout the game I tried to make morally correct choices and tried to grow my children as well as I could. In the beginning I tried to provide the best education possible to my children, sometimes I just didn’t have enough money. Throughout the month I was running out of sources and I realized that every chance to do things by myself was very important in order to save money.

World Connections

How did playing change the way you think about your own or other’s struggles with money?

I started to think more about asking a friend for help and how unexpected things may bring new problems.

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn?

Apply the money properly, trying not only solve the current problems but also to have a more successful future, investing on education and keeping myself healthy.

Cassandra Ziesman: A Pandemic Epic

Introduction

Today, I am looking at the player impact guide for the game Pandemic II, also known as Pandemic. I have played a little with this game, but alas never really thought about it. I’ll be playing this game on realistic mode and as a parasite. As a parasite, my possible-pandemic will have a slow evolution but isn’t as affected to environments and isn’t easily detected.

Game Basics

  • Choose different types of symptoms to start the game. What type of symptom did you choose?
    Why?

My parasite has the initial traits of heat resistance 1 and has the symptom of sweating. Since my disease starts in the Middle East, I decide to go with fevers. This will keep my visibility low, but can allow my parasite to easily cause death to those infected.

  • What are evolution points and how do you get them?

Evolution points are like attribute points in the game or money. They are used to buy symptoms, resistances, and transmission for your disease. They are gained over time with the rate depending on the type of disease (viral, bacteria, and parasite).

  • How does your evolution help spread your disease?

The evolution points as noted above can be bought for symptoms and transmission. There are four transmission types: rodent, insect, airborne, and waterborne. Each type of transmission is useful to get to certain countries which has facilities like airports, seaports, and the like, but aren’t next to each other.

  • Read the breaking news on the left corner. What is happening in the world and how does it inform your
    strategy?

In the world, my parasite is in the Middle East still, which hurricanes hitting China, and a drought in Argentina. Since my neighbor is China, the airports are closed for the hurricanes so I would have to find a different way to spread the disease. If I was near Argentia, I could get insect transmission to help it spread.

  • Looking at the map, what countries are the hardest ones to infect and why?

Unless you start in Madagascar or are near it and infect it right away… They’ll close their ports before you reach it. The Oceanic areas such as Australia and Indonesia do have some problems and Greenland has also be giving me trouble to infect.

Theme Insights

  • What kinds of traits did your disease begin the game with? How did those affect your strategy?

I had heat resistance 1 and sweating, and these traits didn’t affect much since I was going with the strategy of being less visible, but highly infectious until I spend all my points into being lethal.

  • How effective was your disease against humanity? Would you evolve in the future? Why?

It was very infectious and effective since I took my time to plan it. I stayed with the low visible/high infect strategy and got nearly all the areas infected. So I evolved as I could to try to cover the world until my disease was discovered. Sadly, Madagascar closed it’s seaport shortly after the disease was discovered.

  • How do natural disasters in the world help your disease spread faster?

I didn’t really get a chance to see them in action as my disease was in areas where natural disasters weren’t happening! And when they were, they were either already infected or no where near there. I did notice the infection population did go up in countries when they were hit.

  • For the countries that were not infected, why did the infection not spread?

Madagascar closed it seaport after my disease was discovered and was near it. Since Madagascar only had the one port, it was a stalemate for my disease as it could not be transmitted to a country that was isolating itself.

World Connections

  • What is a pandemic? How is it different from an epidemic?

A pandemic is a global infectious disease, as it will infections millions around the world. An epidemic is a disease that stays in a region, but is afflicted to a large population in the region.

  • Have any pandemics ever happened during your lifetime? What were they and how did they affect the
    world?

They are HIV and AIDS pandemic which are transmitted by body fluids. There is also the many, many types of influenza pandemics (swine flu, bird flu, etc) like the H1N1. Also do to the anti-vaccine movement weakening the herd immunity of humans, certain diseases are starting to become possible pandemics.

  • How do nations work to prevent pandemics?

Nations’ can close down airports and seaports to prevent transmission and close borders as well to prevent infected people from coming. They can fund research to create vaccines and distribute them. There is also funding for medicines and hospitals, curfews and martial law!

  • If the disease you created in your game was unleashed against humanity in real life, how effective do you
    think it would be? Would humanity be able to stop it be before it spreads out of control? Why?

I’m unsure of the effectiveness since it’ll understandably take years for it to evolve into a lethal, heavily infectious parasite. My parasite didn’t have a human controlling so it would probably have a few mutations that will set it back years on the infectious scale. Then it’ll be a while to mutate into it’s lethal form. I would think that humanity would probably wipe it out quickly, but that if it deemed a high priority to vaccine researchers. There would be other diseases that would be more deadly to cure than my parasite.

  • How can a game like Pandemic II be useful against actual pandemics?

It helps spread the general idea about how transmission works. While it doesn’t give much of a narrative, it does make the player think about how to infect people to “win”. Of course at the end, that should be when the player realizes they just doomed society. Plus it teaches people what types of diseases there are and how governments are used to keep diseases at bay. For every action or evolution the player disease takes, there is a possible counter move for the countries to take. It also teaches us how much we need vaccines and the all important herd immunity.

You could easily recreate West Nile virus by picking up the insect transmission, or Bubonic plague with a rodent transmission. However, it should be noted that there are diseases that are transmitted in different ways than the 4 in the game (body fluids, skin contact, other animals) so that recreating certain diseases will have to be created.

Janet Jacobsen: Spent

Basics

Where did you choose to live? Why, and what are the benefits and costs of that choice?
I picked about the mid-point in rent and distance. In any case, rent was going to take a huge chunk of my available funds, and living further out was not giving me that much of a financial gain. And I was afraid that living too far away (50 miles!) would reduce my options in being able to get to work, especially if I had any kind of car problems. So it was essentially a choice to reduce my costs a bit, while hopefully still keeping my transportation options open. At one point in the game I opted to take the bus; I wonder if that would have been a choice if I were “living” further out.

What did you buy for groceries? How did your choices affect the rest of your month?
In actuality, I’m a really efficient food shopper, and I’m a good enough cook to be able to do a lot with not much. So I loaded up on fruits and vegetables, pasta, chicken, bread, and peanut butter and spent a bit less than $50, so it didn’t impact my overall budget too badly, and we didn’t run out of food.

Theme

What did you choose regarding your child’s after school activities? Why?
I said yes on all of them, which I believe totalled about $40 for the month. First, you want to support the child’s learning as much as possible. Also, it’s awful from a child’s point of view to be the one “left out.”

What did you give up because you either had no money or chose to save?
The big worry was not getting a bad tooth looked after. This is a problem that will not go away, and potentially gets more expensive the longer you let it go. I also didn’t make a student loan payment, but I didn’t think of that as “giving up” something…..

Connections

How did playing change the way you think about your own or others’ choices?
It was a reminder of how much difference an education makes. Just for starters, I could help my child with her homework! But frankly at several points in the game, I was aware of other options that were available in such a situation, which weren’t given as options in the game. Today we tend to think of information being readily available to everyone, but the “digital divide” is real and an option you don’t know is an option that doesn’t “exist.”

Other than learning the importance of saving money, what other skills did you learn?
It’s not my natural inclination to ask people for help, but it made a difference multiple times in this game, so it reinforced my efforts to not always think I’m less of a person if I need help. I spent a lot of my life not having much money – I actually was an office “temp” for awhile, so that was the natural choice in the game for me. Many of the other game scenarios were already familiar situations to me, and I did pretty well at making “good” choices.

Torrie Cannon Pandemic II

Pandemic II Critic

Choose different types of symptoms to start the game. What type of symptom did you choose? Why? [+1]
With the basics of the game I chose to start with a cough, because it’s not very noticeable, as well as it makes the disease airborne, which is very hard to control.

Read the breaking news on the left corner. What is happening in the world and how does it inform your strategy? [+2]
Watching the breaking news of how the countries and world reacts to the disease is very informative but I didn’t examine it well enough and went symptom happy and it became contained easier than I would have liked. I should have noticed where the drought’s and flooding were and pushed my disease towards certain parts of the world to help it spread. I found it very helpful and interesting to watch though.

Looking at the map, what countries are the hardest ones to infect and why? [+3]
Unfortunately my disease didn’t spread past South America but I have seen this game played before and I would say the hardest country to infect seems to be Canada and Greenland because of their cold temperatures and the virus or bacteria not being able to evolve very well.

What kinds of traits did your disease begin the game with? How did those affect your strategy? [+1]
I wanted my disease to be very resistant so I spent most of my evolution points on resistance and its traits were basically a durable virus, I wasn’t able to really expand these traits or change them, that’s what I was given.

How effective was your disease against humanity? Would you evolve in the future? Why? [+2]
My disease was very effective even when it was contained to South America, it killed millions of people and everything in South America was shut down, the airports, hospitals, etc. I would always continue to evolve my disease to make it harder to create a vaccine and to keep it spreading and hard to detect.

How do nations work to prevent pandemics? [+3]
I thought that the nations in the game worked very well together, it seemed like they communicated fairly well and that was how they were able to contain it so well. I feel like they worked to prevent it from spreading and tried their best to keep the rest of the world safe. Other outside countries such as the United States even started working on a vaccine and when I changed the way the disease spread, they acted very quickly to stop it.

If the disease you created in your game was unleashed against humanity in real life, how effective do you think it would be? Would humanity be able to stop it before it spreads out of control? Why? [+3]
I think that if this disease was unleashed on humanity they would have more trouble containing it but in the end all of the countries would band together and fight the disease as South America did in my game. The disease would be very effective because it was a virus and they are quite hard to treat but I believe it could be stopped as long as scientists from around the world worked together to create a vaccine or worked to contain it and hope for the best.

How can a game like Pandemic II be useful against actual pandemics? [+3]
I think the game is very effective in potentially helping against a pandemic. The game makes you think like a disease, you have to treat it like a chess game and I think that, that’s exactly what battling a disease is, a long complicated chess game, understanding it’s moves and then counter-acting them.

Kyle Myers: Spent

Spent is a game that challenges players to financially survive for a month as if they were a single parent. The game begins by giving the player the option to choose from three separate jobs. Once a player chooses a job, they are continuously shown various situations and are forced to choose the supposed “best” financial decision until they either run out of money or survive for the month. I chose the warehouse job since it was the only option that had steady hours. In addition to the job, I also chose to purchase the silver health insurance plan. The point-and-click game mechanics were very simple, but as the player I often encountered scenarios that made me consider my own ethics. Throughout the majority of the game I did my best to make morally correct choices, such as taking care of my mother and giving money to my children when they asked. However, there were several times where I had no additional money to give and was forced to be selfish. I was lucky enough to successfully make it through the month, but only at the cost of sacrificing my health and my getting fired from my job. If I were to state a minor flaw in the game, I was under the impression that the “ask a friend for help” option was more of an advertising gimmick and distracted the player from potential immersive gameplay.

Not only does this game enlighten the player about the financial situations of others, but it also helps players develop a sense of empathy regarding the seemingly selfish choices of people in difficult situations. The fact that these themes are presented through actual educational facts adds a sense of realism that evokes an emotional response from the player. This game servers a completely educational purpose, therefore the connections the game has to the world are quite literal. Rather than making interpretations as to what the game represents, it should be considered an engaging learning tool that has a clear purpose and message.