NewsGames: you will play or read the newspaper?

Posted on julho 5, 2010

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by
Tiago Doria *

A key feature of internet is low cost, which not only makes room for new publications from entering the market, but also enhances trials. One that comes calling more attention is the mix of games and journalism, so-called NewsGames.

The concept of NewsGames appeared around the year 2003, and refers to games made based on news or some event in progress. The Spanish journal El PAís was responsible for publishing one of the first – the Play Madrid about the terrorist attacks in Madrid, Spain in 2004. A few days after the tragedy, the game was already in the air.

Shortly thereafter, the New York Times, with Food Import Folly, on the lack of oversight on food imports in the U.S.. In this case, the interesting NewsGames this is the fact that a newspaper’s editorial transformed into play. Then in 2007, CNN came out with the Presidential Pong, where you play tennis with the pre-candidate for the U.S. presidency. Each have their skills developed in accordance with the progress of the election campaign in the offline world.

NewsGames around, there has been an ecosystem of researchers, professionals and businesses. A key is Newsgaming, founded in 2003 by Gonzalo Frasca, at the time, CNN’s Spanish journalist and editor of Ludology.org, a site focused on academic studies of games.

Another is the Persuasive Games, already known in the midst of designing educational games.

Working with timelines is a major challenge for anyone producing NewsGames. As the game is based on an event in progress or recently finished, their development must be fast. You need a nearly perfect interplay between the editorial staff and technology, tripe in online journalism as important as a cameraman and reporter in television journalism.

In most games do not try to be objective. Try to show an imprint of a vehicle.

In Brazil, in 2008, the G1 did some experiments with the format and launched AudioPops, a game where you have to discover, through speeches and recent, who are the leading figures in international politics.

But the most interesting came from the magazine’s website Superinteressante that, in the beginning of 2009, launched the game Mafia, in which the reader is a character infiltrated the global mafias. The intention was to show how such organizations operate.

The NewsGames eventually bring an educational and entertaining character back to journalism. There is a format which replaced earlier ones. Rather, it is more a way of presenting news. Another option, less bureaucratic, the readers / users of a news site.

However, not all flowers in NewsGames. There is much debate on how to separate entertainment and journalism, not to mix the two areas or avoid it all does not end in mere pyrotechnics. Anyway, features a new format full of questions and challenges.

* Tiago Doria, journalist and media researcher.

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