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LabX Initiative Calls on Gaming Community to Boost Public Understanding of COVID-19

The National Academy of Sciences recently announced the winners of a LabX creative engagement outreach program competition to create games designed to help build public understanding of COVID-19.

The Jamming the Curve competition — a partnership of LabX, Georgia Tech, and IndieCade — invited creative teams from around the world to develop concepts for engaging games that reflect the real-world dynamics of COVID-19. As they developed their game concepts, the teams had access to science mentors who could offer guidance, along with two “simulation engines” that model how various actions affect the coronavirus’s spread.

The winning submissions for game concepts, selected by a panel of judges across five game categories, are:

  • Everyday Hero, in which players work to stop the spread of COVID-19 through measures such as social distancing and mask use
  • PandeManager, which gives players the job of a town’s mayor who must slow the spread of disease among citizens
  • Lab Hero, in which users play a first responder who is working hard to find a vaccine while following proper health protocols
  • Cat Colony Crisis, in which a ship of space-faring cats must deal with a mysterious disease outbreak
  • Outbreak in Space, which challenges players to save friends and family from a spreading epidemic in an alien world

The five winning teams each received $1,000 in cash and had the opportunity to develop their concepts further to win a $20,000 game development grant.

The winners were selected from among over 50 game concepts submitted to the competition, which can be viewed and played at itch.io.

The winner of the $20,000 LabX Game Development Grant was Cat Colony Crisis. Congratulations to Devil’s Cider Games and their space-faring cats fighting a mysterious disease outbreak!

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