High Impact, Real Fun on the Web

The Coolness Factor

Always on the lookout for new and interesting stuff on the web, I found this last month courtesy of ReadWriteWeb. In an article about what was then the new release of the GoogleApps they used a really cool new tool called Play The News, created by the guys over at ImpactGames. Let me tell you: on my coolness gauge, this thing registers off the scale.

The best way to tell you what it’s about is to quote their site. So read along from their FAQ:

What is “Play the News”?

An engaging, community driven experience – imagine fantasy sports meets the evening news. Play the News is a web-based platform that brings interactive gaming elements to the online ‘news media’ industry changing the paradigm of news consumption from passive reading to active engagement. The experience is made up of the “game” component, or news games, and the community of participation around them such as commenting, rankings, and many features to come. The profile allows you to build a snapshot of your socio-political profile over time on a range of issues.

What is a news game?

A news game is a short interaction aimed at accomplishing three things. The first is to give you background and context around the headline or event being presented, and to highlight a core issue to be examined. The second is to allow you to role-play and put yourself in the shoes of the different perspectives to voice your opinion on the subject. The last is to give you the chance to test yourself or show how smart you are by predicting what will happen in the real world.

How do you score my predictions?

Your prediction vote is scored against reality. When one or more of the actions presented in the game happens in the real world, the game will be closed. Your prediction will be scored as either Correct or Wrong. In some cases, events in the real world will unfold in ways the creator of the game couldn’t anticipate. In this case your score will not be affected for that particular role or game.

The prediction chart lists the Best Predictors in the community. It is calculated around the principle of Standard Deviation. The fundamental idea is to treat predictions as a dice roll. Anyone that moves beyond pure chance (for example, beyond having 1 out of 4, or 25% correct, if there are 4 potential actions) gets a higher value. The more “dice rolls” you have (ie predictions you made) the more difficult it becomes to have correct predictions. Having 1 out of 1 is much easier than having 10 out of 10, and is rewarded accordingly.

Okay enough of the words, lets get some action here! I am pleased to present to you one of the games currently in play, concerning the Olympics, China, Tibet, and all that’s been going on lately in that news story. (For those of you with 1024 screen width, I apologize for the game not fitting properly. The current version of the game doesn’t allow me to resize it.) Enjoy!


I am Jon, and I think I might like playing reality.