Videogame Journalism

Mar 11 2013 @ 3:02pm

Nick Holdstock reviews Game The News. Its creators call themselves “the world’s first news correspondents who cover global events as games”. I thought that’s what cable news does already. But no:

In Endgame: Syria, for example, you guide the political and military actions of ‘the rebels in their military_phasestruggle’. Political events such as ‘Libya has recognised the Syrian National Council’ lead to changes in support for the rebels; troop deployments against the regime’s forces affect the levels of civilian casualties. At the end of each week there’s an instructive epigram: e.g. ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war,’ misattributed to Plato (it was George Santayana). The game ends with one or other side winning, or a peace agreement.

Simplistic and partial it may be, but no more so perhaps than many other news sources. More troubling is the way it apes regular combat games: in the ‘military phase’, you’re informed of new civilian casualties to the accompaniment of exciting explosions (then again, the TV news has been doing that for years too).

(Screenshot from the game Endgame: Syria)