Journalism has embraced digital media in its struggle to survive. But most online journalism just translates existing practices to the Web: stories are written and edited as they are for print; video and audio features are produced as they would be for television and radio. The authors of Newsgames propose a new way of doing good journalism: videogames.
Videogames are native to computers rather than a digitized form of prior media. Games simulate how things work by constructing interactive models; journalism as game involves more than just revisiting old forms of news production. Wired magazine’s game Cutthroat Capitalism, for example, explains the economics of Somali piracy by putting the player in command of a pirate ship, offering choices for hostage negotiation strategies.
Videogames do not offer a panacea for the ills of contemporary news organizations. But if the industry embraces them as a viable method of doing journalism—not just an occasional treat for online readers—newsgames can make a valuable contribution.
About the Authors
Ian Bogost is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC, and the coauthor of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010).
Simon Ferrari is a doctoral student in digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Bobby Schweizer is a doctoral student in digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
—Fred Turner, Stanford University
—Tracy Fullerton, Director, Game Innovation Lab, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive Media Divisio