Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fine Print

Speaking of games, I want to take an opportunity to plug my friend designer-critic Ian Bogost's new collaboration with The New York Times. As Ian explains on his blog, Water Cooler Games, the Gray Lady will be "publishing newsgames we create on their op-ed page, as editorial content, not just as games." There are some precursors for this kind of data visualization, in the long history of political cartoons. Unlike static bar charts and graphs, visitors to the site can hopefully learn more about complicated problems by interacting with the constraints of the system.

Unfortunately, their first game, Food Import Folly, is only available to subscribers of Times Select. As you play the game and inspect shipments in the role of an FDA inspector, you better understand the position of overworked and understaffed health officials, and the game just gets progressively more complicated as we reach conditions under the current administration. You can see their other newsgames on the Persuasive Games website.

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