Disease themed mock FRC games are in poor taste

See title. I find it rather disturbing that many are using a pandemic that’s killing thousands of people daily as inspiration for their mock game themes. Many of these games have great gameplay and simply choose to use COVID as a theme. I like the creativity, but seeing more plague content on CD isn’t the most uplifting thing to think about.

Feel free to disagree. I’m just of the opinion that we should use some different themes in our mock games.


FLL had a “disease-themed” game a few years ago. The thing I remember most about that game was having to keep track of 48 little “virus” game pieces. Many FLL teams used that theme to present projects aimed at disease treatment and eradication. That could be a big part of a COVID-theme game in FRC, considering the “project” portion of FRC this year.


A little too soon to see people having fun with something that has 1) not gone away yet 2) killed my uncle 3) is killing thousands around the world daily.

But I understand your rationale for defending it. Just seems poorly timed.


Sorry, I missed the word “mock” in the title of this. Yes, it could be in poor taste to create some pandemic game just for the sake of creating a game.

I was considering the game challenge that is part of the official 2021 season. That could be done in a manner that presented the difficulties in overcoming this pandemic and examining innovative solutions that became part of game play. Sure, moving robots around on a field to simulate any theme is not a real-world solution. But it could lead to better awareness and understanding if done in a respectful manner.

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I think people are rather aware at this point, don’t you? And the understanding is either there or willfully not there at this point.

I’ve lost eight friends to this pandemic and have watched many more struggle with either losses or long-term physical difficulties of their own, and agree completely with the OP–about the last thing I want to see at FRC are games themed around this pandemic.


Aside from being in poor taste, I think a pandemic themed game would just be boring compared to a sports themed game. Themes in general aren’t my favorite aspect of recent FRC games, so I’m hoping we don’t see a bunch of submissions in the Game Design Challenge that reinforces themed games as a good idea… especially bad themes like “global pandemic”.


I lost a friend to COVID. Sometimes (for some people) the response is to laugh and make light of the situation. We are definitely that group of friends and I find some of the disease mock games that have been posted to be funny.

That being said, no one is presenting their game solely to me. A wide range of people will see your mock game, especially if posted here. A disease themed game doesn’t have to be in poor taste, but that requires thought, care, and skill. A disease themed game in poor taste won’t necessarily offend but you have to know your audience. I think staying away from this theme in mock games is probably a good idea.


Thank you for saying this.


toeing the line here a little close, but I will just say this.

  • I know “Mock” was in the title, so let’s pretend this mock game is the full scope of a first program season and not just “CAD a robot”

  • just so it doesn’t come up when people inevitably take offense to this post: yes I have lost people I know to covid, and others probably now have health conditions that will follow them for life.

FLL games (from what I remember anyway) contain a significant research component. this is valuable, and there are far worse things than a pandemic to put these kids on research wise. after all this event will be come a defining feature of many childhoods.

so, considering many people wouldn’t dig into logistics, or medical fields, or epidemiology on their own, it may not be a bad theme. but if it is just a “game theme”, yes, imo poor taste.

I have ways said that a pandemic themed game is a stupid idea. No one wants to be reminded of the inconvenience/suffering caused by covid. It’s not funny.

I believe you may be referring to the “Bacteria” in the 2011/2012 “Food Factor” game. They were not the focus of the game or the theme. Also, I don’t recall that there were any pandemics on the scale of Covid at the time or the time preceding it.

While some people are okay with a pandemic themed game, it cuts too close to the bone for many others. The people coming up with these game ideas are smart and creative people. It should not be difficult for them to stay away from certain themes and think up themes (if they must) that are not at risk of making a significant portion of the population uncomfortable. For instance, a game with a genocide theme would most likely never be acceptable. Often, the personal growth of the participants in this program in non-technical areas such as emotional intelligence, teamwork and leadership skills is more valuable than their growth in technical areas.


FWIW, I think OP was referring more to the “mock game for CAD practice” things people keep posting on here (i.e. there was one called “Pandemic Panic” a while back iirc)

On one hand, everyone in the world can relate to that topic

On the other, I’m incredibly burned out by all this virus stuff and I just want it to all go away. I’m sure I’m not the only one too


If your mock game animation starts with “we’ll get through this together” like every commercial it’s going straight to my DNP list.

Thanks for saying this @asid61


Throughout these (trying times/unprecedented times/unique times/unpredictable times/unexpected times) we must remember that we will get through this together.

2020 would make an interesting MadLibs.

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I agree. I can easily see these types of games being upsetting or distasteful for those who’ve lost someone to this pandemic (I’ve been fortunate so far, knock on wood). And even for me, who’s been relatively unscathed, it would still be an unpleasant reminder. I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling & feeling anxious about the current state of the world, worrying for my high-risk loved ones, my family members who’ve been laid off due to shut-downs, not feeling safe going outside, etc. Our virtual team meetings have been a nice escape and a way to take my mind off of all that, and I’m sure many people feel the same way. Why pick a theme for your fall activities that constantly reminds everyone that we’re in a pandemic?


I think this thing mainly started when frc events were starting to get cancelled due to covid and there was not very many cases, it was a sort of “use the thing that ruined this season as a bit of a joke for next season” and was seen more as an uplifting spun on what otherwise was a disappointing situation to all teams. Of course with the virus taking more and more lives every day I feel like the joke has passed and there should not be anymore of this but the whole start of this creation of mock virus themed games was not trying to make light of the covid situation but rather turn the bad situation of all events getting cancelled into a more of a funny joke.

Some time before 1.7 million deaths things stop being funny.


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