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'COVID Invaders' video game provides virus vaccination with one click

Minnesota teen Josh Ternyak created 'COVID Invaders' - a free, online video game that allows players to destroy Coronavirus with syringes of vaccine.

PLYMOUTH, Minnesota — Two of the hottest gifts this past holiday season were video gaming systems. If you happened to find a PS5 or an Xbox Series X sitting on a store shelf, you were one of the luckiest shoppers in the country.

The good news is you won't need those expensive gaming platforms to play a game of 'COVID Invaders.' 

After spending nearly a full year crippled by a pandemic, it's everybody's wish to see COVID-19 destroyed and gone from our lives forever. A Minnesota teenager has created a fun way to do just that, while raising awareness for the vaccine.

"I just wanted to build something that would illustrate a vaccine destroying the virus in a fun way," said Josh Ternyak, 16, who is a homeschool student from Plymouth, MN. "I decided to create a video game."

Josh programmed a game called 'COVID Invaders,' where players use a vaccine-filled syringe and shoot at multiple strains of he Coronavirus.

"I patterned the game after the 1980s arcade game Space Invaders," said Ternyak. "My friend Roman Peysakhovich suggested the idea to me and for the past couple months I spent day and night working on it."

Credit: Josh Ternyak
Like most Atari-era video games, when your game ends, you'll have a chance to type your name on the leaderboard.

The game graphics look like their straight out of the Atari-era. The syringe appears on left side of the screen. Depending on what device you use, the idea is to move the syringe up and down while shooting and destroying the COVID-19 spores that are drifting right-to-left across the screen. Like all video games, the more you destroy, the higher your final score.

"At the end of each game, just like all the older arcade-style games, you can type your name on the leaderboard and save it," added Ternyak.

Ternyak says 'COVID Invaders' has been available to play online since mid December. Its popularity has grown exponentially in a short period of time. It's been played by people all over the United States and Europe.

"This game isn't my way of trying to tell people they should get the vaccine," said Ternyak. "I just want to create awareness and a way people can be entertained during this stressful time."

While playing, if you listen closely, you'll hear Ternyak singing a rap song that he wrote specifically for the game.

"The song actually teaches people how to play," said Ternyak."I also sing some funny things to try to grab people's attention and make them laugh." 

Ternyak says that he'll eventually add more programming elements to COVID Invaders to make the game better and more challenging.

You can play the game by clicking HERE.

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