Once upon a time . . .

OK – it’s not that black and white. But as usual I’m being bombastic to press the point. There’s room for great stories, and great storytelling, in games. But I think it’s important to appreciate that games offer us access to another learning mode, besides storytelling.

Interactivity is one of the defining features of games as a medium (see Crawford on this), and my point is that people who play games learn by interacting as well as by experiencing a developing story. Because of this, journalism can be included in a game at a much deeper level, almost a subconscious level.

For example, you’ll learn a heck of a lot about flying a Cessna from a flight simulator (game) as opposed to a documentary about a small aircraft pilot (story), or from reading the manual (lecturing). Those are the three basic learning styles, and each complements the others. Each method of learning approaches topics from a different angle and has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Thing is, we’re hard-wired to enjoy stories and games. They’re fun.

The strength of gaming for journalism is that it could involve people in the issues we’re covering in a very deep way, where they learn about a topic intuitively by interacting with it.

As long as the interaction is genuine, accurate, and editorially balanced, it can be journalism. Like Insurgency – is that journalism?

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