Sick of COVID? Jewish teenager builds free COVID-19 video game

Despite the success of his first ever game, Ternyak does not seem to have any plans for a follow up any time soon.

Josh Ternyak plays his CovidInvaders game (photo credit: Courtesy)
Josh Ternyak plays his CovidInvaders game
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As the world battles against the coronavirus, one young game developer has developed a way for everyone to fight the ongoing pandemic.
Called CovidInvaders, the game was created by 16-year-old Josh Ternyak, an observant Jew from Minnesota, with inspiration from his friend Roman Peysakhovich. Since its launch, it has been played by thousands of people worldwide.
The game itself is fairly simple, with the player taking control of a vaccine shooting at incoming volleys of COVID-19. But its simplicity in turn leads to its accessibility, and being accessible on Web browsers on smartphones ensures that even people not into video games are still easily able to play.
Accompanying the game is the soundtrack, a catchy, freestyle rap song recorded by Ternyak himself in just 10 minutes.


Josh Ternyak plays his CovidInvaders game (Credit: Courtesy)
Developing the game took around two months, he said, adding: “I started learning how to code and build websites when I was 11 years old. When I was 13, after my bar mitzvah, I started taking it seriously. Just recently, five months ago, I started teaching myself how to build games, and then the vaccine came out and started to happen.”
It was news of the vaccine that inspired him to make CovidInvaders, a free game for everyone. So far, Ternyak has had no negative feedback.
“I think that just because it’s too funny and relevant to the vaccine and coronavirus, it makes the coronavirus less scary to people,” he said.
Ternyak’s main goal was to celebrate the vaccine, and while he doesn’t aim for the game to tell anyone they need to get vaccinated, he does hope it “makes the vaccine less scary for people.”
The game is currently available on CovidInvaders.com, but if there is sufficient demand, it could make its way to the App Store or Google Play.
Despite the success of his first-ever game, Ternyak does not have any plans for a follow-up any time soon.
“I’m busy with other projects right now,” he said. “For example, I’m building a start-up for Software-as-a-Service with my older brother, so we’re kind of busy with that. But maybe in the future, I could make another game.”