Serious games as a tool of new journalism: Among ideology, information and entertainment
The development of internet has brought about a dual necessity for the printed press: that of looking for a new reader and a new format, which, beginning with the lengthy experience of the printed media, includes all the innovations of digital media, and this, along with both a new reader and a new format, creates the journalism of the 21st century. Respect towards the reader is obvious, as the youth which have begun to be known as digital natives, (generations born with internet) are distancing themselves more and more from printed paper for their entertainment and information by means of the new technologies. One of the tools recently incorporated by some newspapers in their online versions is that known as ¿serious games¿, and more concretely those centred on information are known as ¿news games¿. In news games, the reader finds a virtual world where his actions reveal the information which he traditionally would read in a printed newspaper. This is an activity to which the digital natives are becoming habituated. Could news games become one of the elements of the 21st century newspaper? In this paper we intend to make a pilot project which is being developed by a group of investigators from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, known, by taking various serious and news games as objects of study through which an answer to the question, above, is sought. The investigation explores and proposes a method of transfer of the informative content of videogames. To do this, we start from the triad: ideology, information and entertainment as the guidelines to follow for a possible protocol of adaptation of traditionally journalistic genre, such as reporting and editorials. In the basic structure of a game, we rely on the fundamental element which is ¿gameplay¿: game, as the rules framework, and, play, as possibilities of user actions. The game determines the world to be represented. It is a framework which establishes and structures a system of main characters, actions, conflicts, rules and possible results; which, by certain means is similar to the content of a journalistic theme. In this manner, the ¿gameplay¿ of a game is its ideology, the representation of the world which it brings about. The conversion of a plot in system is a fundamental step in making a report a possible game framework. More important than ¿gameplay¿, is the totality of information which the game transmits, and is determined by the theme on which the game is built around, and, which establishes everything from visual style to the type of personage the user will be in the virtual world. Finally, to ideology and information, entertainment is added. This is a term which seems to be at odds with information, but can by no means be lacking in any game, and, which obliges that the design of the game is such that, as well as fulfilling its informative function, is also attractive. The conclusions to which this work has brought us, establish the guidelines not only for the design of the game as possible ways of exploration for new journalism, but also, for its relationship with the digital media. Also, the investigation lays another factor which until now has not been mentioned on the table, which is that of the necessity of incorporating new professionals who not only possess the traditional knowledge of a journalist, but also, have the capacities of the new narrators of the digital media, into the writing-rooms of newspapers.