“Gamification” is a dirty word. Most don’t mind seeing RPG elements worm their way into every genre of game, but mention doing it with fitness, learning, or your diet and those same people will likely roll their eyes.

Europe’s first-ever Newsgames Hackathon stands a chance of changing that.

A “newsgame” is a gamified method of presenting journalism – be it a feature, opinion piece or a standard new story. The concept was successfully employed by the New York Times’ “How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk,” an interactive quiz that became the site’s most visited “story” of 2013.



GameTheNews’ Tomas Rawlings will be the keynote speaker. GameTheNews created NarcoGuerra.


 A hackathon (aka game jam) is when a group of artists, writers and designers gather in one place and build games in a very limited amount of time. It’s a popular concept in independent development, and now The Good Evil and the Cologne Game Lab are teaming up to bring the concept to journalism.

This particular hackathon will take place over 48 hours, starting on May 6 in Cologne, Germany. The results will be displayed at this year’s Clash of Realities, a yearly European games conference.

As someone who believes games to be our most definite method of expression, I’m interested in how the Newsgames Hackathon will turn out. It reminds me of empathy games like Papers, Please and Cart Life. The idea of experiencing a long-form documentary or first-hand feature actively, rather than as a passive observer, is fascinating.

If this event can live up to its potential, the results will definitely be something to see.