Documentary Games in Context

Bronwin Patrickson
Macquarie University

When gaming models are applied to real world events the results may sometimes seem to challenge both.  What games offer is fun in the form of experience.  What that experience might mean depends on its context. The model for documentary games presented in this article encourages both play and insight by suggesting ways that media networks can scaffold engagement in order to help players link virtual experiences to real world debates.  The model is adapted from game based learning strategies.

By comparing a prototype game-like simulation experience of the impact of war on unarmed civilians, with a commercially funded interactive trans-media event designed to both inspire and enable players to do real good in the real world I argue that documentary games are more likely to provide fun and also effect change when they are contextualized within a wider release strategy.  By applying game-like design strategies to trans-media networks documentary game makers can encourage deeper engagement with the issues at hand.

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