Cultural Milestone: New York Times to Carry Newsgames

May 25, 2007 -
Games are often in the news, but now, they are the news.

In a landmark development, Georgia Tech prof Ian Bogost, founder of Persuasive Games, announced yesterday that the New York Times will henceforth carry his company's "newsgames" as part of their editorial content:
I'm excited to announce that Persuasive Games has a new publishing relationship with The New York Times, in which they will be publishing newsgames we create on their op-ed page, as editorial content, not just as games. This is unprecedented, and... represents another important shift in videogames as a medium. This is news/editorial in videogame form, rather than videogames trying to make news fun.

The first NYT offering is Food Import Folly, a game which dramatizes the challenges faced by inspectors charged with ensuring the safety of our food supply.

At present the Persuasive Games offerings are available only to paid subscribers the newspaper's TimesSelect service.

GP: In gaming terms it's not exactly the Halo 3 launch, but in the long run the marriage of games and mainstream journalism could have a significant cultural impact. Hats off to Ian Bogost and the Persuasive Games team!
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Comments

Responding to Zoness, I see this more as a presentation of the media of music to people who have only heard descriptions of it. If this allows more people to become comfortable with games, then hooray! I used Windows Solitaire years ago to make technophobic office people comfortable with their new pc's, it demystified the whole thing for them and made it familiar. Games for many people are like that, and they will need a nice fuzzy intro to the medium. Yay for Ian Bogost and his crusade to bring games to those who are scared or ignorant of them.

"I do not, however, like the idea of a total mainstream adoption of the gaming world. It’s like listening to underground types of music, if cooperations eat them all up suddenly it becomes trashed and the audience disappears."

That's more likely to happen to individual genres in gaming just like it happens to individual genres in music. I think it could very well happen to GTA like games. All of the horrible GTA clones being released could very well, and has in my opinion, saturate the market and anger the audience.

@Merc25:

I think a more general acceptance of games (which is what I think this represents) is a good thing.

I do not, however, like the idea of a total mainstream adoption of the gaming world. It's like listening to underground types of music, if cooperations eat them all up suddenly it becomes trashed and the audience disappears. We don't want that. That is obviously an extreme situation but something I think could happen nonetheless.

Hey, very cool. Well done and congrats!

I second Jabrwock's sentiments, though. Boooo, indeed.

Wow, that is huge. The only thing I'm wondering about is mainstream saturation. Afterall, is this something that can be picked up by other news corporations or is this something that can only be specially licensed?

Either way, is it too late to award Prof. Bogost with a "Gamer of Century" award?

Serious Comment: This is indeed an impressive event. Perhaps media partnerships with videogame companies, no matter how far removed from the "industry" they are, will allow them to get a better understanding of what goes on in our world. It would be nice to see fewer news stories with a glaring ignorance of even the most basic working of the game industry.

Non-Serious Comment: What are the games for even lite VT and the Thailand shootings going to look like? Are we going to see corporate version of Super Columbine RPG?

Cultural Milestone: New York Times to Carry Newsgames...

...

Does any think there is a down side with the merger games and mainstream media?

YATTA, oy! It seems that NYTimes favors games as an emerging media! :3

JT: "It's a murder simulator disguised as news!"

Booooo, you need a Times subscription to play. And the "free demo" requires CC info. :(

Still, it's good that games are becoming more and more mainstream that they are now considered a valid form of "editorial" content...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

[...] World of Borecraft Ever since video games were invented, parents and teachers have been trying to make them boring. Any child of the 1980s and 1990s will remember Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and Math Blaster Mystery: The Great Brain Robbery, games that promised to make skills acquisition fun. They'll also remember ditching Mavis Beacon for something with guns as soon as their parents' backs were turned. Making games educational is like dumping Velveeta on broccoli. Liberal deployment of the word blaster can't hide the fact that you're choking down something that's supposed to be good for you. With video games starting to eclipse movies in revenues and popularity, the educational-gaming movement has gone into overdrive. Industry bigwigs and civic-minded intellectuals are increasingly peddling the idea that video games can cure society's ills. There's a booming subgenre of games, like the Nintendo DS title Brain Age, that claim to stave off senility via simple puzzles and arithmetic problems. A Harper's cover story last year asked whether video games were the best way to teach kids to read. (Short answer: maybe.) There's even a D.C.-based group called the Serious Games Initiative that advocates for "a new series of policy education, exploration, and management tools utilizing state of the art computer game designs." Take that, Reader Rabbit! All of these ideas are premised on the notion that video games can and should be more than mindless fun. But all of this noodling about games' untapped potential raises some philosophical questions: When does a game stop being a game and turn into an assignment? Can a game still be called a game if it isn't any fun? The company Persuasive Games makes for an interesting case study. Persuasive has gotten a lot of press due to its recent collaboration with the New York Times on "newsgames." Persuasive's releases are essentially the Blaster series for the new millennium but geared toward adults instead of children with overprotective parents. Cartoonish and uncomplicated, with graphics reminiscent of old, 16-bit gaming systems, these games generally play like Sims expansion packs that were too boring to be released. Persuasive's first game for the Times, Food Import Folly (TimesSelect subscription required), is a rousing examination of the ins and outs of FDA import inspection. Newsgames are an interesting idea, but this one is less informative than a simple article and less fun than doing the Jumble. Food Import Folly didn't make me think long and hard about FDA policy
 
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NeenekoI have met some real jerks and slimeballs in gender activism, but when I hear the idea that there are many 'not nice' people it comes across as code for 'uppity people who do not know their place'.09/19/2014 - 12:10pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Many of the people pushing gender issues aren't nice people? I'm sure not everyone's a sweatheart but so far, everyone I've seen with such a critique had absolutely nothing to back them up.09/19/2014 - 10:46am
InfophileI think there's a qualitative difference between a site and a hashtag though. GP can ban anyone from commenting, so they can have the image they want. But anyone can use any hashtag and try to poison it. Granted, that hasn't happened to the other one yet09/19/2014 - 10:13am
E. Zachary KnightKrono, your comparison to GP does not work. We do not need to get rid of GP, because no one associates GP with trolls and abuse. The same can't be said for gamergate.09/19/2014 - 10:09am
Krono@Michael You don't remember the "other hashtag" because no one actually uses it. We're talking 836,983 uses of #gamergate over it's lifetime, and 8,119 for the "alternative". 47,129 uses on the 18th vs 41. With #notyourshield at 140,133 uses & 5,209 uses09/19/2014 - 9:48am
Kronoresearch it. Changing tags to get away from trolls would be like wiping GamePolitics and restarting under a new name to get away from people calling Jack Thompson a filthy names in the comments section.09/19/2014 - 9:35am
Sleaker@quiknkold - seems like all that page is is a bunch of random developer opinions and rumors that we're supposedto do what with?09/19/2014 - 9:31am
Kronoas an opportunity to push back against them. It's one of the things muddling the issue. @conster A new hashtag would do nothing to improve anything. Trolls will simply follow to the new hashtag, and it will confuse the issue for anyone attempting to09/19/2014 - 9:25am
Krono@Andrew aaah. Yes, I'm sure there's some of that. Part of the problem is many of the people pushing gender issues are not very nice people. Basically the latest incarnation of moralists we've seen in the past couple decades. Naturually some will take this09/19/2014 - 9:23am
quiknkoldhttp://www.nichegamer.net/2014/09/real-gamedevs-sound-off-regarding-the-gamergate-controversy/09/19/2014 - 8:35am
MaskedPixelanteMeanwhile, in news that actually DOES matter, Scotland voted "NO" to Scottish independance.09/19/2014 - 8:20am
ConsterSeriously? "We shouldn't make a new hashtag - it's better to associate ourselves with psychos than to decrease our visibility"?09/19/2014 - 7:54am
Michael ChandraI forget what it is exactly, but there already is another hashtag that some use, exactly to separate themselves from the abusive behaviour. So don't bother lying to me.09/19/2014 - 7:06am
quiknkold2 to 3 or more09/19/2014 - 6:53am
quiknkoldMichael Chandra : I'll say this. The only reason they havent used another hashtag is because it would look like a form of dividing the arguement. Using another Hashtag has come up, and they feel like if they made a new hashtag, it'll split the debate from09/19/2014 - 6:53am
Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
 

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