How to get your game on in the newsroom
PBS - 04/15/2015
In short, game designers create rules. For example, the player can open this door, but not that one; can attack one country, but not another; and a rule-based game can be a powerful tool for persuasion. In game design theory, this is called “procedural rhetoric,” and designers (especially journalists new to game design) should be aware of the constraints, assumptions, and biases they are building into the game. For example, the game September 12, built in response to the 9/11 attacks, asks the player to target missile strikes at gun-toting terrorists moving around in a marketplace. The time lag from mouse-click to missile strike results in the inevitable loss of civilian life. The game is a political statement. It may inspire empathy, but it also has an agenda.
News organizations using games to explore the news usually means making games out of events or expressing opinion through a game, said Casper Harteveld, an assistant professor in game design at Northeastern University. “A more formal approach to game design in journalism hasn’t really gotten off the ground,” he said.