Swine flu game infects Web

Is it any surprise really? Swinefighter has hit the Internet, the latest casual game to capitalize on current events.

Heyzap

H1N1 worries got you down? Perhaps taking a stab at flying, green, infected pigs with a giant needle will provide some comic relief.

That's your task in the Web-based Swinefighter, one of a growing number of casual games that capitalize on current events.

In this instance, you play as a doctor in a white coat and face mask. Wielding a giant needle, you attempt to inject sick-looking pigs flying around a map of the world. Once you prick the digi-pig (it's not hard), it turns a healthy pink and says "Oink," and you've done your part to save the world from further infection by the virus formerly known as swine flu. (Never mind that the illness is currently passing from human to human, not from pig to human.)

This little time-waster from Heyzap is apparently spreading as fast as a virus (ahem...) online, so some people clearly like a bit of levity amid pandemic panic. (As of this writing, 9,522,376 viruses had been virtually destroyed.)

Obviously, Swinefighter isn't going to do a whole lot to educate the public about H1N1 or keep people up to date on the latest projections. But at least the site includes tips from the Centers for Disease Control on how to stay healthy, as well as a link to the Red Cross Web site for people who want to make donations to assuage various global crises.

There's also a live Twitter roll displaying the latest tweets about the game. "OMG! They brought out a swine flu game," one Twitterer wrote. Mused another: "A marriage of timing and trend = instant audience."

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

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