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Gaming politics for Facebook likes

How newsgames can generate strong emotional reactions

Back in 2013, there were tensions between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The Philippines Coast Guard shot at a Taiwanese fishing boat, causing major uproar within the Taiwanese media.

Just 2 days after the news broke, a local agency produced a satirical game. Styled as an arcade game, players stepped into the role of the Taiwanese president. The goal? Sink opposing fishing boats.

The game’s satire was more so aimed at the inept ability of outgoing president Ma in handling the entire crisis. According to sensationalist news reports, many have compared him to a brainless jellyfish.

Players could sink opposing boats, as well as other inept politicans (styled as jellyfish). In a way, this provided a perfect outlet for the public to vent their frustrations.

The game itself was designed to scale, due to its cross-platform (HTML5) nature. This meant, distributing the games as web links worked very well with existing social networks such as Facebook.

Sources say: within 2 hours after its launch, the game garnered 120,000 game plays. Player high scores reaching the hundreds of thousands overnight. It’s Facebook post generated thousands of comments and likes.

The ingredients for success?

  1. Timely political tensions
  2. Clever game idea, tapping on users need to vent frustration
  3. A team that built the game in 2 days
  4. The cross-platform nature of the game ( HTML5 )
  5. A media outlet for distributing the games

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