Mohammad-Javad Haj’jari, Maryam Azadanipour


Pandemics have always been under scrutiny as part of conspiratorial schemes to control humanity. The 1918 Flu (1918-1920), suspiciously following World War I, is a case in point that inspired the video game Vampyr (Don’t Nod, 2018). Recounting the Great Flu and the conditions of post-WWI London in 1918 with a dose of cultism and mysticism, Vampyr presents us with an alternate history of the world. This paper, following an interdisciplinary approach in investigating the alternate worlds of virtual games in light of quantum physics and conspiracy theories, tries to explore the nature of alternate histories and their plausible scenarios about the way of the world, here about the cause of pandemics. Vampyr is thus played as an alternate history where overcoming the Flu, as in other pandemics, is an existential game of schemes, choices and consequences. Considering the open world of Vampyr and the range of choices the player has in developing its storyline, this analysis reveals how conspiracies by shadow governments or polities may run the world and how the mass of people are blind to them. The mystical reason behind the disaster in Vampyr is associated with an evil entity appearing every few centuries to unleash a new pathogen into humanity, implying conspiracies against overpopulation at certain periods throughout history. Accordingly, players in Vampyr can choose to make the world better or continue with darker schemes, a gaming fact that runs through the world with policy-makers as its players.


alternative history; conspiracy theory; pandemics; 1918 Flu; Vampyr

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