Since the launch of our public beta, “Play the News” has received some interesting reviews on the Blogsphere. There were positive reviews; TransBuddha says “ImpactGames has figured out a way to combine my old D&D love with my obsession with the news”, while Josh on The Knight Center blog calls us: “an interesting offering for those interested in new ways to deliver and interact with the news”.
We also enjoyed the satire on The AV Club, according to them PtN “will make you kill puppies”. Broken Toys’ Scott Jennings, however, was highly critical by claiming we “essentially ha[ve] abdicated any responsibility for making a decision”, pointing out that we have created a framework for the community to voice its opinion without advocating our own opinions or assumptions.
Getting feedback is great, and the beauty of the Web is that we can keep expanding and improving the platform based on reviews and comments from players. Josh of the Knight Center phrases it more eloquently by saying: “It’s interesting that [Jennings] refers to this site as a “title,” making it more akin to a static game product that is done at some point than a website that evolves and changes over time”.
Josh argues we should introduce crowd sourcing to PtN as “an effective way to diffuse the unavoidable agenda setting nature of Play the News… Creating a system that allowed the crowd to assist in creating the content could greatly increase the number of stories offered.”
Funny he should mention that… Because hidden behind the front-end of PtN is an easy to use content creation tool. It enables us to publish polished experiences around a breaking story in only a day or two. Our focus now is reaching out to different media partners so they will create their own games using our editor. Aggregating all these “channels” on our site would allow for very interesting comparisons of the the issues illuminated by different content partners, while obviously adding richer and wider content.
We do plan to open PtN up to user-created games. At that point anyone could create whatever advocacy perspective they want through the information and the potential courses of action. We will need to seriously address moderation and copyright issues, but it is definitely a worthwhile expansion. From our perspective, it is a natural step in the evolution of PtN but not an immediate one. First, we would like to establish this new media format. Once the “News Game” format is established, we can support civic journalism and user-generated content. As Eric my partner commented on one of these blogs “for us this platform has just been born.”