The New York Times has crushed any remaining doubt that political games are slowly creeping into the mainstream. Today's online version of the paper featured a game designed by Persuasive Games, the first offering of a partnership that will see the Times regularly pushing “newsgames” as editorial content on their op-ed pages.
I'm been a fan of Persuasive Games for some time now, and although some of their previous projects have seen mainstream success (Shockwave.com hosted several of their earlier efforts), this new media relationship will place their thought provoking games in the hands of a far more mainstream audience.
Ian Bogost of Persuasive Games is evidently excited, as can be seen on his blog, Water Cooler Games: “This is unprecedented, and at the risk of tooting my own horn, I think it represents another important shift in videogames as a medium. This is news/editorial in videogame form, rather than videogames trying to make news fun. The fact that the Times is often considered the national newspaper of record makes this moment even more notable, and gratifying.”
Perhaps the largest downside to all this is that the games are only accessible if you subscribe to the paid TimesSelect service, which makes one all the more skeptical towards the Times' rationale for new content.