Guest post by Matthew Toboroff
As I lived through Lockdown and all the ensuing craze of our “New Normal,” it struck me that people would likely start to minimize, mischaracterize, and forget so much of what was going on. More and more, we were growing accustomed to the unrelenting flow of hysteria that spewed out of our television sets and smart phones on what seemed to be an hourly if not minute-to-minute basis. With every urgent release of “breaking news” and “unprecedent crisis,” our focus would inevitably shift, and things that once completely gripped our attention were going to get lost in the shuffle.
Some of these things, or moments that would get lost were entertaining. A lot of them were very disturbing. They were scary and unfamiliar. These things were not “normal” or commonplace, they were completely bizarre. These things were indeed consequential to the arch of human history and these things desperately needed to be memorialized.
Sitting in my living room in downtown Manhattan, watching what felt like the fiftieth rerun of the same press conference or nighttime news show, I called my old buddy Rudy in New Jersey and told him I was in the middle of devising a fun way for everyone to keep track of everything that was going on; a trivia game that would document all the wild happenings of this crazy window in time. I asked Rudy if he wanted to partner up and create this game together. Shortly thereafter, Citizen Outbreak was born!
So much of what has transpired has been shut off from public discourse…
Whereas for a brief period at the outset of the pandemic humanity seemed to feel more connected by common circumstance, as the angst of 2020 persisted and politics took hold, according to the narrative with which they most identified, people quickly began separating into different camps. Soon enough, the gap between these camps became too wide to bridge. People were only open to content and to “news” that appeared to serve or confirm their chosen narrative. Regardless of how objectively logical, inherently true, or potentially beneficial any given piece of information may be, if its perceived source was even remotely understood to serve a conflicting narrative, that information would be pre-emptively turned away or suppressed and decried as false or much worse.
As Rudy and I brainstormed, we understood that our trivia game could provide everyone an entertaining way to connect, reflect, and relate through the experiences we all shared throughout the course of the past few years.
Citizen Outbreak co-creators are Matthew Toboroff(left) and Rudy Gofman (right)
Citizen Outbreak is a trivia card game that tests your knowledge about all the moments; big and small, serious and absurd, that in one way or another, shaped all of our lives these past few years.
There are two categories of trivia:
Follow the Science: Trivia relates to matters of public health, pandemics, and Covid specific content.
All things Viral:Trivia relates to everything else in the past few years that may have streamed across your TV screen, chat group, or social media platform.
Ultimately, people want to connect…
Despite our differences, both real and perceived, we can remember the toilet paper craze and share a laugh. Whether you’re a Fauci guy or a MAGA gal, you most likely watched an episode or segment of “Tiger King”, or at least remember when that completely bizarre show was absolutely everywhere. Whether you tune into CNN or keep your dial locked on Fox News, you can probably laugh at least a little bit about those times you or your neighbors may have incessantly sprayed Lysol all over your Amazon delivery and everyone can take a collective moment and realize that nobody skipped a beat when in the middle of all this madness, our government conceded that yes; UFO’s actually do exist!
It's ok to disagree…
We’ve grown increasingly reluctant to speak, scared to disagree, and discouraged from questioning matters and events that have so dramatically affected all of our lives. We used to be able to debate our friends. Our teachers and public officials actually encouraged it.
While Citizen Outbreak is packed with lots of fun and easily relatable content, our game also includes questions that will spark debate and hopefully stimulate critical thinking. We think that’s healthy. We want our game to promote collaborative and spirited discussion!
Everyone became an expert…
Remember when all your friends suddenly became medical experts and part time civil engineers? We made sure to accurately source our content. Our game will put everyone’s knowledge to the test!
Ready for Launch!
So far, we’ve manufactured small runs of our game for development and promotional purposes. I’m thrilled to write that the response has been wonderful. People love playing Citizen Outbreak!
On September 15th at 5:00PM EST, our game becomes available to the public, exclusively through our campaign on Kickstarter - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/citizenoutbreak/citizen-outbreak. To order your games, you are going to need your own Kickstarter account. You can create your Kickstarter account through our website www.citizenoutbreak.com. We hope you sign up and order your games! In the meantime, you can find plenty of information at our website and on our Instagram page - @citizenoutbreak.