Previously, I was playing a video game called Urbanology. I really didn’t see the point to this game, and it seemed to me to be less like a game than a simple quiz. So, I decided to change games and try something new.
While reading one of the articles we were assigned in class, I stumbled upon a game called The Republia Times in an article meant for Humanities teachers. I decided to give it a try, and I actually really liked it.
The game is set in a future dystopian setting in what was once the United States. After a violent faction killed off the majority of the United States government and took over the country, they renamed it Republia and were soon in a war with another country called Antegria. Republia wins this war, but the government is very corrupt.
The User is the Editor-in-Chief of the Republia Times, the most influential newspaper in Republia. However, the government has the User’s family in custody, so the User has to use the paper in order to influence the citizens of Republia, or else the User and their family will be killed.
Users are then directed to a page where they must format the front page of a newspaper, making sure that there are enough stories and those stories keep up readership while also making the government happy. This is a tricky problem, because time goes faster and faster as Users progress through the game. Users also have to decide the different sizes and placements of the stories, because this directly affects readership and influence.
I was having some issues in this unit trying to figure out how to tie Video Games to my future English classroom, but I think that I could make this one work. Several novels that I could work with deal with government oversight and this could be a good exercise to show how newspapers and the news in general play an important role in how the populace receives information.
I am looking forward to playing this game more to figure out how it works and to see how else I could use it in my classroom. I think that this would be a good way to utilize some of Gee’s principals, including co-design (learners feel like active agents) because they are actively changing the way the game works and identity (learners take on a news identity) because they will be taking on the persona of a journalist.