From zombie infections to world-ending plagues, the world of video gaming is no stranger to all kinds of lethal diseases just waiting to wreak havoc on the planet! Some of these genetic nightmares can kill their victims within minutes, while others bide their time, giving their victims slow and excruciating deaths. Whether you are a fan of these types of horrors or not, you cannot deny that deadly viruses, bacteria, and parasites have become an inseparable part of video gaming history. That is why we’ve decided to take our time to reflect on the long history of fatal illnesses in video gaming and revisit some of the most iconic ones. Join us on an adventure as we go through some of the deadliest diseases in video gaming!
Top 8 Deadliest Diseases in Gaming
Some of the diseases we’re going to cover play major roles in their respective games’ narratives, while others were just an afterthought. Nonetheless, all of our picks below are equally dangerous and terrifying! Here are our choices for the eight deadliest diseases in gaming in no particular order:
1. Green Poison (The Divison)
If there was ever a fictional disease that perfectly fits the mold of many conspiracy theorists, it’s The Division’s Green Poison! This virus also goes by the name of “Dollar Flu” because it was initially spread by coming into contact with contaminated banknotes.
This genetically modified strain of smallpox was created in New York City and intended to be used as a means of population control. The disease was purposefully engineered to be lethal to 95% of the population, while only 5% of people were naturally immune. When you combine such a high mortality rate with the fact the virus is initially asymptomatic and incredibly infectious, you get a weapon of mass destruction capable of decimating the world’s population if left unchecked!
2. Genophage (Mass Effect Franchise)
The Genophage from the Mass Effect franchise is unlike most diseases since its goal was never to kill… At least not directly. This disease was created by the Salarians and later spread among the aggressive Krogan race to reduce their numbers. However, the disease didn’t do that by killing Krogans, but rather by decimating their race’s fertility.
All the attempts at finding a cure for this disease were in vain, which led the Krogan race nearly to extinction. Most survivors focused their entire lives on breeding, while others lost all hope and became vicious mercenaries, entirely indifferent to their fates in combat.
What a cruel fate, isn’t it?
3. The Green Flu (Left 4 Dead Franchise)
We know little about the origins of Left 4 Dead’s Green Flu except that it is some form of influenza. What is known, though, is that people who contract it turn into rabid, mindless zombies!
What makes the Green Flu much scarier than any usual type of zombie virus is that the infected don’t act as a slow, shambling horde. Instead, the diseased are as vigorous as when they were humans, if not more. The disease is also susceptible to various mutations, creating special, superhuman zombies (like the infamous Tanks and Witches). That makes it quite a unique virus on our list!
4. Kharaa Bacterium (Subnautica)
Not all infamous diseases in video gaming are viruses. This entry on our list belongs to none other than the Kharaa Bacterium from Subnautica! The players never find much about this disease’s origins throughout their underwater adventures on the planet 4546B. But one thing is abundantly clear — this bacterium successfully killed out an entire technologically advanced race, the Precursors.
Despite their superior technology, the Precursors failed to find the cure before getting wiped out by the Kharaa. In their last effort to contain the disease, the only thing they managed to do was quarantine the planet and leave themselves to their fates. The symptoms of the mysterious but deadly type of bacteria are increased aggression, the appearance of large, green cysts on the skin, and, eventually, death. Good thing you manage to find the cure by the end of the game, right?
5. Cordyceps (The Last of Us Franchise)
We’ve had viruses and bacteria so far, but now we come face to face with a parasite too! This lethal fungal disease from the Last of Us franchise causes the infected to lose all higher brain functions, followed by acute loss of sight and turning into a mindless, wandering cadaver.
Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of this disease is that its creators based it on a real-life parasite — ophiocordyceps unilateralis. That’s right — the Cordyceps is a fictional, beefed-up version of a real-world disease! Talk about a horror you don’t want to face in real life, right?
6. The Flood (Halo Franchise)
Now we come to a disease that nearly ended all life in the Milky Way — The Flood from the Halo franchise! This nasty extraterrestrial parasite is known for raising the dead as malformed mutants and giving them incredible superhuman strength. All victims of this parasite exhibit highly aggressive behavior.
But perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of this parasite is that it can “absorb” its victims’ intelligence; with every life it takes, the entire species grows more intelligent. At one point throughout the Halo games, The Flood was responsible for wiping out the majority of sentient life in the galaxy!
7. Necromorph Infection (Dead Space Franchise)
There’s no corner of the galaxy that the Necromorph infection didn’t reach in the Dead Space franchise. This infection is infamous for being able to spread both via electromagnetic signals and a mutant pathogen. That is what makes it so challenging to prevent.
The unfortunate victims of the Necromorph infection suffer dire fates. First, they begin developing severe dementia, followed by increased homicidal tendencies. This behavior and loss of sentiency often lead to their deaths. But the worst part is that, after they die, the infection reanimates them as horrific mutants. If losing a comrade to an alien virus wasn’t scary enough, having them jump at your from beyond the grave sure makes this disease a force to be reckoned with!
8. T-Virus & G-Virus (Resident Evil Franchise)
There were never more iconic viruses in gaming than the T-Virus and G-Virus from the Resident Evil franchise! The Umbrella Corporation artificially developed these diseases to sell them as bioweapons to the highest bidder. The viruses were so dangerous that the place where the viruses got unleashed, Raccoon City, was nuked to prevent them from spreading.
The T-Virus and G-Virus are of similar origin but have widely different effects. The former is highly contagious and reanimates the dead, turning them into flesh-eating, mindless zombies. On the other hand, the G-Virus is much more selective with the hosts it infects. But when it finally finds an applicable host, it mutates them into horrifying killing machines.
If you’re interested in learning more about these iconic viruses and how they compare, we suggest you check out this article.
How did you like our list of eight deadliest viruses in video gaming history? Which of them sounds the most fatal to you? Are there any others you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!