For many newsrooms, it’s open season for games. More and more journalists and game designers are coming together to create interactive stories that use “play” to engage readers in powerful ways, offering them the chance to explore, experiment and learn with news.
“The power of games is the power of play,” says Lindsay Grace, an associate professor at American University and founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio. “Play itself is the human animal’s way of exploration.”
Games are constructed around play, exploration and interactivity. Those are powerful tools for engaging an audience and getting people to not only read stories but insert themselves into them. Outlets like ProPublica, The Washington Post and The New York Times are starting to recognize that the way both video games and news succeed is remarkably similar: by engaging audiences.
But it’s been a long journey to get to this point. Every new form of play in journalism – from crossword puzzles to the newsgames of the 2000s – has been met with a large dose of skepticism. It’s taken a long time for journalists to embrace the idea of “play” in their work. The news industry, after all, is defined largely by its adherence to a grounded the written word. For the most part the misperception that “play” involves the audience having fun with otherwise serious stories is still present in many media outlets. In our digital age, journalists need to be willing to use every tool at their disposal in order to tell stories and engage audiences. Moving forward, games need to be part of that toolset.
- : http://www.storybench.org/power-play-journalists-warm-newsgames/
- : Cody Mello-Klein
- : Storybench