Ian Bogost: “The Cartoonist and the Whaler: Notes on the Future of Journalism and Other Media” | MIT Comparative Media Studies

Ian Bogost is one of the world’s leading experts on gamification and he focuses on the gamification of news media. I’ve just listened to the first half of this 90 minute talk and found it well worth the time. It starts out slow but the examples get better over time. Most surprising to me was that there are a lot of examples of news turned into games. Bogost has done some of that in his academic work but he’s also studied the history of where games and news intersect. He believes, for example, that the loss of local cartoonists and the shift of casual gaming away from crossword puzzles onto the internet have done major harm to local newspapers, in addition to the many factors more often cited by others.

I’m not much into games, but I find gamification quite interesting. My own startup, Plexus Engine, isn’t really about gamification but I’ve used it to research the topic for a talk and thus come across Bogost as a leader in the field. The research has lead to some fun experimentation with gamification of learning in Plexus. It’s cool to hear about the larger context of that sort of experimentation. If you’re working in news, interested in gaming for social good or just want to learn about experiments in new media - Bogost’s talk "The Cartoonist and the Whaler" will be an enjoyable activity. I look forward to listening to the rest of it myself.

If gamification is of interest to you, you might like following this big fat Twitter list of the world’s leading experts in the field: https://twitter.com/#!/marshallk/gamification Stick it in your Flipboard for extra good times.

And now, a little more summary and the audio of the talk.

A "newsgame" is a videogame that does journalism. Drawing from five years of commercial development and academic research on this new approach, this talk summarizes the principles of newsgames and then offers two related but conflicting perspectives on its role in the future of newsmaking, framed by general thoughts on the challenges of designing and understanding contemporary media.

Ian Bogost, Professor of Digital Media at Georgia Tech, is a designer, philosopher, critic, and researcher who focuses on computational media—videogames in particular. He is also an author and an entrepreneur. He is also a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games and a Board Member at Open Texture (an educational publisher).