Gamification and The New York Times


There's a lot of buzz in social networks about the little game The New York Times has used to illustrate their feature Just One More Game... Actually, what they publish is a version of the Kick Ass game by Rootof Creations, as indicated in the source. Usually, these ideas look absolutely mad when proposed in other newsrooms. Then, The New York Times or any other respected newspapers uses it and all those who banned the idea in their media clap like crazy. Maybe that's why NYT is so innovative. They don't mind how important they are, they are open to new ideas and don't think a game or an animated GIF (as published today on its frontpage) is not as serious as  they should be.

But is not the first time The New York Times uses a game to explain something. And, in my opinion, not, by far, the best. In fact, this is just some amusement, meanwhile other times NYT has used those games as a really effective way to explain some concepts.

My favorite is the Rock-Paper-Scissors game to understand how robots think. Smart and completely amazing.

It's not a game just for the sake of having a game in the page (as the one on the top of the article). It's actually an explanation in disguise. And a really good one.

The same they did when they wanted you to know why is dangerous to text and drive. Other incredible piece called Gauging your Distraction.

Better than a text and giving you the reasons, they give the experience. The classical Show Don't Tell! as its best.
This particular piece made me think much about it, and from them I always try to look for the possibility of using games to explain information. Sometimes just slightly, sometimes on a more evident way.

Games are not just about making things funny. Means better understanding of the information. Reader engagement. Success in social networks. Scarce content. Time spent by the user/reader. Many many reasons for, at least, try to think on the possibility.

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