We are quickly reaching a period in time when most adults have a basic understanding of gaming, if not remaining gamers for life. However, we have not fully reached that point, as evidenced by the US Surgeon General’s comparison of the Covid vaccine to the Xbox Series X|S, and game cartridges.
It can be easy to forget (especially if you’re the kind of person who would be reading this article) that not everyone is up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of gaming. As games get more and more complex, they also take up more space. This typically means changing the delivery format of a game. For example, a cartridge didn’t have the memory capacity to hold a PS1 or Xbox game, which is why games moved to disks. Similarly, it’s becoming increasingly popular to replace disks with offsite servers, accessed via streaming service, and digital editions.
However, the Surgeon General doesn’t appear to be fully caught up on these developments, (we’re fairly sure he’s got more important things to do) which lead to the awkward comparison. “I want to put it in Christmas-think for people out there,” The Surgeon General said of the process of developing the Covid vaccine, “The Xbox is the new big gift for Christmas and what we did was really use what’s called platform technology.”
So far, so good. He continued, “If you get a new Xbox and you want to change your game out you don’t throw the whole Xbox out and buy a new Xbox, you just get a new game.” The vaccine relies on previously developed techniques, the Xbox platform in this analogy, to work, which is why it was developed as quickly as it was. “What we did with this vaccine was use a platform that had been around for over a decade so we know its safe, we know it’s effective, we changed out the cartridge to adapt it to Covid-19 and that is really scientifically what allowed us to get here in record time.”
The “cartridge” in this case would be the mRNA that is used in this specific technique. The overall process remains the same, but the mRNA is what is changed out. It’s a messy metaphor, but he kind of got his point across.
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