Long COVID Support Group Develops Video Game Mods to Raise Awareness and Simulate Symptoms

Minecraft Mod Developed by Long COVID Europe.

Long COVID Europe collaborates with modding teams to create game mods that simulate the debilitating symptoms of long COVID, helping patients express their experiences.

Long COVID, a condition characterized by the persistence of COVID-19 symptoms for an extended period, continues to pose significant challenges for patients and healthcare professionals worldwide. The complex nature of the condition, coupled with the absence of a universally accepted test, makes it difficult to articulate its impact, especially for those who are unaffected. However, a support group called Long COVID Europe has taken a creative approach to address this issue and increase awareness of the condition.

Long COVID Europe, in collaboration with the marketing agency Saint Elmos, has launched an innovative project called Long COVID Mode. This project involves developing free modifications, or mods, for popular PC games such as Elden Ring, Minecraft, and The Witcher 3. These mods aim to simulate the symptoms experienced by long COVID patients, offering players a unique perspective on the challenges faced by those living with the condition.

Image credit: Stellar7Project / Long COVID Europe

Chantal Britt, co-chair of Long COVID Europe, emphasizes the importance of experiencing the symptoms firsthand to truly understand their impact. She explains, “It’s such a great way to get that message across because you have to experience it yourself. Otherwise, you don’t know what this is about, and it’s difficult to explain.” By incorporating these symptoms into video games, the initiative provides a tangible representation of the invisible illness, making it easier for others to comprehend the daily struggles faced by long COVID patients.

The modding teams involved in this project have worked tirelessly and voluntarily to create realistic representations of long COVID symptoms within the gaming world. In the Elden Ring mod, developed by Garden of Eyes, players face challenges such as slower movement and stamina replenishment. Even simple tasks like standing up after sitting become laborious, reflecting the fatigue and exertional intolerance experienced by long COVID patients. Random blackouts, memory loss, and digestive issues also affect the gameplay, mirroring the unpredictable nature of the condition.

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the invisible illness and provide a unique perspective on the challenges faced by long COVID patients.

Garden of Eyes explains their approach to translating symptoms into the game, saying, “We tried to build upon them, to make something that matches with those symptoms.” For instance, losing track of time and experiencing blackouts are represented by manipulating the game’s time-of-day mechanics. Headaches and the need to rest are simulated by incorporating random animations. The modding teams have made great efforts to simulate as many long COVID symptoms as possible while preserving the core mechanics and gameplay of the original games.

Through the Long COVID Mode project, Long COVID Europe aims to raise awareness of the condition and advocate for state intervention and medical research. By providing a tangible experience of long COVID symptoms, the initiative hopes to bridge the understanding gap between patients and the general public. It also seeks to help patients express their experiences more effectively when discussing their condition with others, be it for health insurance claims, work accommodations, or simply explaining the situation to their loved ones.

Image credit: Stellar7Project / Long COVID Europe

As long COVID continues to affect millions of people globally, initiatives like Long COVID Mode play a crucial role in shedding light on the condition’s complexities. By merging technology, gaming, and medical awareness, this project serves as a testament to the power of innovation and empathy in addressing the challenges faced by those living with long COVID.

Read Also: 3 Years On, Long Covid Patients Still Demand Answers

In conclusion, Long COVID Europe’s collaboration with modding teams to develop video game mods that simulate the symptoms of long COVID provides a unique perspective on the condition. By creating an immersive experience for players, the initiative aims to raise awareness, improve understanding, and amplify the voices of those affected by this life-altering disease.