Corona Minister

Giv De Unge Ordet (Give Youth a Voice) is a three year project investigating how collaboration and co-creation between researchers, professionals and young people, mainly high school students, directs and affects science communication and science communication products in relation to mental health, personal data and the use of technology. 

We developed the Corona Minister dilemma game as part of this project to better understand how games can be used as conversation starters, to educate young people about the difficult dilemmas politicians face in relation to managing a pandemic, and also to investigate how young people experienced the first COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020. Five young people then became our co-researchers to further develop the project, lead the interactions with their peers and co-create science communication products, such as podcasts, blogs and a museum exhibition.

In the game, players are the ‘Corona Minister’ and their job is to manage the national strategy for handling the COVID-19 outbreak, and to make difficult decisions about how to balance economic, public health, privacy, and mental health outcomes.

For each outcome, it is possible to get a maximum of 5 stars, but it is not possible to get 5 for all of them. So, do players want to focus their policies on optimizing one outcome and get all five stars, at the detriment of one or more of the other outcomes? Do they want to take a balanced approach, and maximize their total score across all outcomes? Is it better to not restrict the civil rights of citizens, at the cost of their health? These are the kinds of decisions that must be made in the game.

In the Giv De Unge Ordet project, the game was used as a conversation starter among high school students to open up discussions about their experiences, both good and bad, during the first COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020.