Inoculating against Covid-19 misinformation

Gamification to get health messages across

Inoculating against Covid-19 misinformation

Gamification to get health messages across

Pro-social messaging through gaming


People 16 to 24 years old may be difficult to reach with direct messaging through traditional and social media. This means they are more likely to be receptive to mis-information that comes “just-in-time”.

The customer wanted to demonstrate how gamification could effectively convey information about social distancing to this cohort ahead of time and to “inoculate” them against mis-information about Covid-19.

The Brief

The objective was to create a gamification platform and initial game to demonstrate and test the effectiveness of gaming in conveying public health messages in a public health crisis, using the Covid-19 crisis as the backdrop as a proof-of-concept.


The initial task was to work with the customer to conceptualise gameplay for the proof-of-concept that would convey pro-social messaging, in this case about staying apart from others to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

After workshopping game concepts, Fathom worked with the customer team using an agile approach to iterate development of the game platform and the game.

The game, called Keep Away, is a treasure hunt, where players respond to clues, genuine information and misinformation. It can be played by teams, with points earned from getting answers right and finding items of treasure and points lost by getting too close to others.


The game platform and game were implemented using Amazon Web Services, including API Gateway to invoke serverless Lambda functions and storage in the NoSQL DynamoDB database. React was used to implement the front end as a Progressive Web App or PWA.

Mapping was implemented using a React implementation of Leaflet Javascript library and OpenStreetMap.

Leaflet was chosen for its simplicity of implementation, particularly as there is a React version.

Open Street Maps was used as it is deeply customisable and we were able to control the look and behaviour of maps in the game, which is heavily map based.

Both simulated location and physical location-based functionality were provided for, though only simulated location on maps were used in the proof-of-concept.


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