fun / industry news / innovation

Gaming the news: Different methods to similar goals

fixthebudget

Some decent buzz on the Internet this week about the New York Times’ recent interactive “You Fix the Budget” game. I found the game interesting (and yes, I fixed the budget), but somewhat dry. Part of the reason for that is I was familiar with a previous budget-balancing game called “Budget Hero,” introduced in 2008 by American Public Media’s “Marketplace.”

budgethero

“Budget Hero” has more movement, more explanatory details when you make selections, and even some cheesy sound effects. And it has a storyline, which sells it as a game, in my opinion. “You Fix the Budget” feels like a Sunday Crossword, which may be the intended effect.

But this got me to thinking: Do people have a preference when it comes to games as journalistic explanation? Is the “Budget Hero” better than “You Fix the Budget”?

I’m sure there is a certain amount of “different strokes for different folks” involved, and I can’t imagine this:

budgethero2

showing up on the NYT web site.

Still, I’m curious which method of gaming does a better job of illustrating the challenges involved in the budget process. Any thoughts?

And as long as we’re mentioning games related to the news, APM has a new “game” called Future-Jobs-O-Matic that might be worth mentioning for college media audiences.

futurejobs

And there are a wealth of related topical games linked at gamesforchange.org. I like the idea behind Free Rice, a definition game that adds rice grains to your total that are then donated to a hunger charity. Strengthen your vocabulary while helping out with world hunger.

(Future-Jobs-Orama link found via Nieman Labs)

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