Video games are, for many, the cure to boredom as they stay put and wait for the worst of our current reality to pass by. The gaming industry is a life raft for a number of people, including gamblers who need something to lose money on.
They’re also a World Health Organization-sanctioned good way to pass the time during the COVID-19 pandemic as people hunker down, make bells on the virtual Animal Crossing market, and just generally try to endure one of the weirdest moments in recent existence.
If you’re still looking for a more of-the-moment game, however, it’s hard to do better than a title inspired by coronavirus and the subsequent social distancing that’s followed. Enter COVID-19: Coronavirus Quarantine, a game from first-time game maker Derrick Rossignol (who happens to be a music editor at Uproxx), with illustrations from Kjetil Rossignol. The duo wanted to make the most of the pandemic by creating a game that works on Game Boy ROMs.
The game’s look is certainly Pokemon-inspired, referencing the series and the current environment we exist in, where toilet paper is inexplicably scarce and our fridges might be starting to look a little bare. The title is quick, and though it may remind you of Stardew Valley, there isn’t much of a grind to it, which is exactly the point.
“I think somebody who isn’t patient enough for the relaxed pace of a Stardew Valley-type game but still wants a life sim could get into this. It’s not even necessarily a game to “get into,” though: In less than five minutes, you can see everything there is to see,” Rossignol said. “It’s a dumb game, and that’s the point. Mainly, the goal for making this was to get a quick laugh, raise some money for a good cause, and get a simple message across: It’s important we do our part and stay inside as much as we can, even if it’s really boring sometimes.”
Even better, the game costs a dollar and proceeds will go to charity. It also comes with a fun illustrated instruction booklet with simple instructions like, well, stay home. Which is good advice! And a good cause, to boot.