Published: 31st March 2020
Bhag Corona: Why this game created by XLRI students featuring PM Modi shooting vaccine at a virus is a great stressbuster
Called Bhag Corona, the game aims to spread awareness about how to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic and what we can do to flatten the curve in the next two weeks
Even after numerous directives by the Government, advisories by the World Health Organisation and doctors across the world, some people still aren't aware of the precautionary measures required to be taken to halt the spread of the novel Coronavirus. What better than an entertaining game to teach them about safety? That's exactly what these two MBA students from XLRI in Jharkhand made possible.
Akram Khan and Anushree Warade, both MBA students at XLRI, Jamshedpur have developed an educational online game based on the Coronavirus. It educates people on how to stay safe and fight this deadly virus. Called Bhag Corona, the web browser game is currently available for free on bhagcorona.com and can be accessed on all devices (mobile, tablet and desktop).
The gameplay has been kept simple yet challenging, a player has to shoot vaccine on viruses that spawn on the screen and the game becomes progressively tougher as you level up. What catches your attention is that the medicine is being shot at the virus by an animated character that resembles Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "At first we had added a syringe that threw disinfectant/medicine on the virus approaching, later we replaced it with our PM's face as we thought he should be the protagonist. As he is on the frontline of dealing with this crisis," adds Akram. There's a song that plays in the background, which a lot of us are now familiar with Go Corona Go that was first made famous by the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale.
Once you miss the virus, the game ends and an educational message pops up on the screen. The objective of the game is to spread awareness about how to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic and flatten the curve. The virus starts to become smarter as the score increases. Initially, it only moves horizontally and learns to move in different directions and at a faster speed.
It has no in-app purchases or ads and is available in English. The makers are also working on releasing it on iOS and Android app stores soon. "We created the game in a matter of 5-6 days because people were still going out of their houses amid the lockdown and not realising the seriousness of the situation. So, it's sometimes easier to reach them through a medium of entertainment," explains Anushree, one of the creators.
"We inculcated the World Health Organisation's guidelines for personal protective measures and hygiene to fight against COVID-19. We realised people are bored and restless during the quarantine period and a game would be the most effective way to spread the message," adds Akram.
Within a day of its release, the game had been played over five thousand times. It was released on March 25. The two students had already come up with the idea on March 18, when Jharkhand was put on lockdown and they went back to their homes. They created the complete game by working remotely through video conferencing. "First was the ideation, then the basic layout, followed by what should be the controls. We had initially shared it with friends and they said it was too easy. Then we added progressive difficulty levels and that's how we tested it," says Akram.
Akram and Anushree the makers of the game
Both Anushree and Akram are engineers — one an electronics and communication engineer from Mumbai and the other, a computer engineer from Aligarh Muslim University. The creators plan to make more such educational games in the future. "We have plans to create such games on social topics like gender equality, caste-based discrimination and many more social topics or issues which can help disseminate information," concludes the makers.