Rapidly Produced Newsgames
The Cartoonist is a research project that aims to merge traditional journalistic and editorial sensibilities with accessible gaming technology to engage today’s demanding news audience.
The current research goal is to create a simple tool that can quickly create videogames that tackle current news issues with insight, relevance and accessibility.
The videogame is a powerful medium for constructing computational models whose underlying code governs what that system can do and how it operates. As such, players of newsgames reason about the logic and rules of the news story and use it to proceed through the subject and play the game.
The Benefits of Playing
Newsgames are topical challenges that employ current events as the basis for interactive experiences. Combining information delivery with editorial traditions such as satire, caricature and opinion, Newsgames present a participatory format that allows news consumers to engage with a subject in a manner currently restrained by the limitations of the classic news format.
Any topic is potential fodder for a newsgame: each of the major sections of a newspaper can be presented in the format. Rather than tell stories about people, places, objects, and events, newsgames reconstruct the underlying logics that made the story possible in the first place. Far from dense and impenetrable, newsgames are designed to be a user-friendly experience accessible to all ages.
Developing a Tool
The Newsgames research group is developing a tool so journalists can turn the insight, point of view and visual dynamics of editorial cartoons into playable games. Requiring only basic technical skills, this tool will be able to address the subjects and events of a deadline-driven work environment by rapidly producing compelling and topical games that engage and inform.
As contemporary newsrooms shrink in size and staff, resources dwindle for taking risks on new material. Our tool mitigates these risks by offering a simple, user-friendly interface that allows newsroom professionals at all experience levels to develop and publish newsgames with ease. The newsgames tool should complement rather than replace any part of the journalist process.
Trying Something New
The newsgames tool isn’t designed to replace existing editorial content, but rather, it aims to deliver a unique experience to news consumers while keeping the traditions of editorial journalism alive.
Today’s news consumer is savvy, informed and presented with a myriad of information channels. They seek new experiences to complement traditional content and new ways of understanding the world around them. News organizations can embrace these desires with a tool that can draw consumers in with unique content while producing content that is more sophisticated than thoughtless eye-candy.