"News games" are released quickly after significant news events and spread virally around the world on social media sites.
Swinefighter, by Jude Gomilla and Immad Akhund, is a Flash game that tasks players with "destroying" swine flu viruses.
The game, which was released about a week ago, is the latest example of a growing genre called "news games"--titles that are created quickly after significant news events and spread virally around the world on social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
Swinefighter was created by Gomilla and Akhund in one night after the swine flu outbreak.
Many of the games stretch the limits of taste and are often considered controversial, but they attract huge audiences as well.
As the Swinefighter header indicates, players have killed off more than 14 million viruses. Each time a player kills a virus in the game, it adds to that total, meaning that in the week since its release, players have played enough times to destroy more than 14 million of the pig-faced viruses.
When former President George W. Bush was attacked in Iraq by an irate journalist wielding shoes, it inspired at least seven different games based on the event.
Perhaps the most popular of those was Sock and Awe, by Alex Tew, which tasked players with hitting Bush fictional shoes. Tew eventually put the game up for sale on eBay, and a company called Fubra bought it for just less than $8,000. But Fubra contends that it made its money back in 48 hours by putting ads in the game.
Not all news games have clever titles. Bush Shoe Throwing Game is yet another based on the shoe-throwing incident, but some think it was the best of those games because it incorporated actual photographs from the event.
Bail Out Brown is another game from Sock and Awe creator Fubra. The game is similar to Sock and Awe, except that instead of trying to hit Bush with shoes, players must try to hit British prime minister Gordon Brown with wads of money.
The game is based on common British discontent with the financial bailouts in that country.