Gincanavirus A different brain teaser during the COVID-19 pandemic

That was our aim with the Gincanavirus: create a tool or game so that people could be distracted for a while during this surreal COVID-19 period we are living right now.

What am I talking about?

I’m referring to the Gincanavirus. The Gincanavirus was created as a product of a dumb idea that some entrepreneurs of various fields had, and our main goal was to create something that could entertain and educate people, using a specific lore that pointed out several problems which are the main culprits of the issues we are living right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a matter of fact, the project developed very quickly (even too hastily). 6 of us were involved in this project (Ibon Reinoso, Sofía Moreno, Albert Juera, Unai García, Eneko Suárez and myself), and we went from zero to having a minimum viable product in 10 days, which consisted on a digital gymkhana.

And what’s this about?

The Gincanavirus’ main objective is to pass various tests, where the relevant information is given via two sources: an Instagram account (with the @gincanavirus alias), and a specifically tailored webpage. [NOTE: Unfortunately, all the content is in Spanish, so you should understand Spanish to be able to play this game]. Even if following the gymkhana day by day could be more intriguing, the organizing team designed the tests so they could be played anytime (during the pandemic, or out of it). The only aspect you should consider is the date of the Instagram posts’ release – you might play the gymkhana in a different order, but you might miss some of the game experience.

GV19 Interfaces
Gincanavirus’ interfaces (gv19.org on the left side, @gincanavirus in Instagram on the right side).

Moreover, whoever that plays this gymkhana from now on will play an improved version of it. This will happen because in our team there was nobody that had created a similar thing before, which meant that we learnt a lot during the first days after the gymkhana’s release. In fact, there were a lot of people interested at the very beginning, since it was a different initiative, but the first tests were too hard for many players and the game’s mechanics were not very clear. Because of that, we had to modify some tests to make them reachable to the players.

As a part of those upgrades, you will be able to see a roadmap of the game soon in the Instagram account, in case you want to do a marathon and play the whole Gincanavirus at a time.

What have I earned from this?

First, I had the chance to meet amazing people with whom I could work in an ambiguous challenge with a very limited timeframe. I feel that this project would have been an absolute disaster if I didn’t have the opportunity to work with this multidisciplinary team.

Second, I learned to understand a situation from different perspectives, empathizing with the player. When we were discussing the tests to include in the Gincanavirus, some of them looked very easy for us, but ended up being really challenging for the players. Conversely, we thought on some more difficult tests, and the players impressed us, reaching to totally unexpected conclusions – in fact, one of the latest posts published by @gincanavirus is precisely a compilation of the Top 10 Unexpected Conclusions.

Lastly, some fun. Because of the organizing team, because of doing something that I never tried before, and because of the reactions of players with the tests. It was awesome to do this, and I would redo it again no matter what.

In a nutshell…

If you are still here and you can spare some of your precious time during this quarantine (or out of it, if you read me in the future), I encourage you to play the game and to extract your own conclusions about the Gincanavirus. If you are a person that enjoys brain teasers, you are detail-oriented, or you can find patterns when there are none of them, the Gincanavirus might suit you.