Newsgames – Procedural Rhetoric Meets Political Cartoons


Video games have been created about political and social issues since the early days of the medium. In recent years, many developers are rapidly creating and releasing games in response to current events. These games are being referred to as newsgames. With an increasing number of people citing the internet as their primary news source, it would appear that newsgames could become an important part of how people understand current events and could rise to be an important and expressive video game genre. However, the word “newsgame” is currently only quite loosely defined, resulting in the term being applied to many forms of serious, or nonfiction games. Also, despite the quantity of games that relate to current events, very few newsgames can be said live up to the defining claims that newsgames are the video game equivalent of political cartoons [25] – a well developed and established medium for political expression. This paper fleshes out the political cartoon comparison in order to learn from the long history of political cartoons and give direction to the current state of fledgling and unsophisticated newsgames. It also suggests clear and flexible definitive criteria for newsgames as well as a redeclaration of their expressive power.