Examples of games used to tell news stories

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Journalism.co.uk came up with a list of examples of games used to tell news stories

 Let’s begin with three examples from that list.

The world at 7billion

world at 7bn

This BBC game drives home the realities of exponential population growth by letting you enter your date of birth and so identify your place in the phenomenon.

Further stages in the game let you find out about population growth in your own country, and feed you information including the country with the fastest population growth, that with the quickest depopulation

How should I vote?

Several news organisations have created games in which, by answering a number of questions on particular policy issues, you find out how you ought to be voting.

The best ask you who you plan to vote for as a first step, and reveal to you at the end how you ought to vote if you want to see the policies you have favoured during the game enacted. 

Here’s one from the Telegraph.

Budget calculators

Such games get you to add details on your expenditure, income and other financial and family commitments, and tell you how the latest Budget will affect you. Here’s an example from The Independent.

But they don’t always work out, this one was withdrawn.

How much are you worth?

This game tells you how much you are worth by looking at your CV. It is designed to help job applicants negotiate a better salary.

Propublica’s Heartsaver


Ivoh, which covers “Media as agents of world benefit”, reports that many games from news organisations seek to create empathy in readers through “an inclusive experience that takes the reader off the page (screen) and into the lives of others. For example, Propublica’s HeartSaver focuses on creating a connection and understanding between people with different access to medical care and facilities.”

Play Heartsaver here

As heart-attack victims appear on a map, you have to try to save them by getting them to the nearest appropriate hospital.

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Playing it is unnerving. I saved just three out of 26 victims, and those that died let out an unnerving yell of pain.

Is gaming an acceptable way to tell news stories?

In a report titled News as games: immoral or the future of interactive journalism, and pegged to Apple’s decision to reject Endgame Syria, a game that explored the origins of thewar in Syria into its app store, The Guardian explored a key question: does gaming the news turn a complex and tragic story into mindless entertainment, or can it help readers get into the psychology of those waging the civil war, and hence bring them to a greater understanding of the root causes of the conflict?

You can read more on the morality of gaming the news here

Why journalists need to game the news

Tomas Rawlings who organised the event the Guardian attended, believes that journalists are not just competing with other news organisations but with games.

He told the Guardian: “You’re competing with Candy Crush. You’re competing with every other app that the user can open up.

“So if news organisations are not making use of the interactivity of these devices, then the output they produce will become increasingly stale.”