More so than ever before, it’s regular citizens with camera phones who are breaking the news… or in some cases shaping the news. And it’s this topic, hot on the heels of the protests in Ferguson, MO, that developer Nicky Case decided to tackle in a powerfully simple game.
The foundational idea and motto behind the as-of-yet unnamed game is, “How you frame the story, will change the story,” referring to how photographs can both reveal the truth and help spread misinformation.
He spoke to The Atlantic in detail about this game last week, and released this short gif demo to illustrate how the gameplay would work:
Basically, you as the photojournalist will have to decide how you frame the story. That, in turn, will determine how the fictional world you’re working in reacts to you.
Take a picture that pleases the police, and they’ll be nicer to you, perhaps giving you access you didn’t have before. Take extreme photographs that overstate violence, and you could be the sole reason a peaceful protest devolves into a riot.
All of this is complicated by the influence of social media. You score points by gaining Twitter followers, and you gain Twitter followers by taking ‘interesting photos.’
The game is still a long way from being completed — if it ever is — but the ethical dilemmas and sometimes harsh consequences that the main character will have to deal with are the selfsame ones photojournalists have to be conscious of minute-by-minute when they’re covering something like the protests in Ferguson.
To use a game to introduce these topics to the world of ‘new media,’ where news is made and framed on Twitter, is a pretty bold and interesting move.
If you’d like to learn more about the game, how it came about, and the moral and ethical questions that are driving Case to create it, check out the full Atlantic article by clicking here.