Friday, July 20, 2012

Point-and-Shoot Game Creation

Were you ever the type to pick up a newspaper just so you could complete the crossword puzzle? Apparently this was a point of entry into the paper for many people, but the concept didn't get translated very well when journalism went digital.  In his Games for Change Festival talk Ian Bogost suggests that newsgames might be a new way to draw people in.


But here's the problem: making games is kind of hard. And newsgames — “any application of journalism in video game form” — have to be made quickly so they are relevant to current events.  Should we start training journalists in computer programming? That might be useful, but it's not a short term solution.

Instead, Bogost has created Game-O-Matic, a tool that can quickly create simply microgames based on a concept map anyone can put together.  This allows journalists to work at the ideation level.  It's kind of like being able to take a snapshot of the world with a point-and-shoot camera; it's a point-and-shoot game maker.

The concept is really interesting because it distills games down to their most basic pieces.  If the idea ends up working well, I could see it going much further with story generation based on concept maps.  If nothing else, it could be quite useful as a brainstorming tool.


blagh said...

There's the point, too, that newspapers rarely create their own sudoku puzzles and comics - they're sourced from creators who make them professionally. It might make sense for a newspaper to hire a programmer to create the games - they already have them for the website, after all, and there are some transferable skills - but less sense for journalists to begin learning to code for the purpose of attracting them to other articles.

Gail Carmichael said...

True enough. In the meantime, it would be nice for journalists to be able to put something together easily. It won't be as good as what a programmer could do, but it won't cost as much easier, so it makes a good starting point.

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