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Hawaii: Coral Cross pandemic simulation game begins in May

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  • Hawaii: Coral Cross pandemic simulation game begins in May


    Coral Cross: Pandemic Preparedness from the Hawaii Department of Health
    April 12, 2009 ? By Michael Andersen in News, Previews

    Dystopic literature often turns to the threat of pandemics for inspiration. From Albert Camus? La Peste to Stephen King?s The Stand, authors create global pandemics in their stories to confront issues raised by a threat to human survival that strikes at the very fabric of our society. In order to open a dialogue about Hawaii?s pandemic preparedness and allocation priorities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is funding an alternate reality game starting in mid-May at

    As part of a larger public engagement initiative that includes community meetings and a live TV panel, the Hawaii State Department of Heath has contracted with the Hawaii Research Center for Future Studies to produce Coral Cross, a ?playable scenario? on the island of Oahu. According to Judy Kern at the Communications Office of the Hawaii State Department of Health, the goal of the ARG is to ?help encourage public dialogue and elicit input for decision-makers on Hawaii?s pandemic priorities.?

    The game is scheduled to launch during the second half of May, with each day representing one month of game time. While anyone can play, the game?s core audience will be located in Hawaii, particularly the island of Oahu. As Stuart Candy, researcher at the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, explains,

    First, we can make use of the limited geography ? a captive audience, if you like ? by using more real-life elements to augment the storytelling. Second, as a member of our design team observed, the fact that we?re tackling a global topic, pandemic flu, with a local tilt, not only gives it an interesting flavour, but it also helps the scenario. Instead of trying to evoke every last thing about how the world could transform as a result of a deadly disease sweeping across it, the island acts as a sort of microcosm in which, no matter where they?re from, people will be able to see what?s at stake more clearly and concretely, in particular how lives and communities are affected.

    By restricting the geographic field of gameplay to a limited area, Coral Cross will hopefully be able to address the impact pandemics will have on local communities and social structures while providing a truly immersive experience for the participants.

    For a number of years, the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies has been facilitating public discussions of future scenarios through ?experiential futures.?
    And as a former Game Master for the Institute For the Future?s forecasting game Superstruct, Stuart Candy received first-hand exposure to the potential of the genre for community forecasting. With serious games like World Without Oil, Superstruct, After Shock, Ruby?s Bequest, and Coral Cross engaging the community in meaningful dialogue, Jane McGonigal?s dream of seeing a game designer win the Nobel Peace Prize is becoming increasingly likely.

    Anyone interested in Coral Cross can submit their email address to in order to receive notification when the game begins in May.

  • #2
    Re: Hawaii: Coral Cross pandemic simulation game begins in May


    Online flu pandemic game in the works

    April 21, 2009 12:18 AM

    April 21, 2009 04:04 PM
    By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

    MANOA (KHNL) -- It's an online game, with a very serious twist.

    State officials are creating an interactive game, to help local residents better understand and get ready for the next flu pandemic.

    "It's intended to help people imagine what it would be like for a global flu pandemic to occur. Although the scenario affects the whole world, the game is seen through people on this island," said Stuart Candy, project lead.

    This one-of-a-kind game is called Coral Cross. Candy is with the Hawaii Research Center for Future Studies. He's working with state health officials on the project and describes it as an interactive game that'll help residents better understand the pandemic.

    "Instead of just a sound bite about a really complex issue, this provides a portal into its complexities," said Candy.

    It'll help people prepare because health officials say, it's not a matter of if a flu pandemic hits, but when. Coral Cross will also help officials determine who will get a vaccination, when it does happen.

    "One of the missions in the game will entail people entering their own information to find out how high a priority they would be," said Candy.

    And by playing along, participants will be able to provide policy makers with feedback, helping them make decisions when the real one hits. The game's developers are being tight-lipped about other details because Coral Cross is still in the works.

    But you'll be able to see for yourself in about a month.

    Just go to