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When Fake News takes over - Gamification to the rescue!


Troll farms, deep fakes, bots, dark ads - these are some of the widely used tools that are threatening democracies worldwide by distributing fake or misleading information at a high rate.

Living in the post-truth era for some time now, it became clear that one cannot successfully debunk fake and misleading information by just stating facts, one needs to engage, entertain, and educate their audience. 

While the West has been suffering from fake news and misinformation, one can imagine what misinformation can do to smaller, more fragile democracies, like Georgia. 

Fortunately, Georgia has a strong civil society sector and lately, they have been fighting fake news in non-mainstream ways -  using gamification.

DCN Georgia is actively mapping out their digital ecosystem and keeping close ties with the organizations that are fighting fake news with gamification. 

In this article, you will learn about four organizations - ForSet, DemLab, Media Development Foundation and On.ge and their work.. The games are mainly developed and distributed for the Georgian speaking audience, but most of them are also translated into Armenian and Azerbaijani for the minority citizens. 

*By Teona Tomashvili



1.Quack Hunter


Quack Hunter was developed as a collaboration between ForSet and Media Development Foundation. The main challenge in the game is to distinguish false information from real. In each round, a duck carries 10 different letters with specific information in it. A player must catch the duck, read the letter and guess whether the information is false or real. If guessed correctly the player gets 1 point, if not - 0.

Since publishing, the game has been played around 7000 times. The game is being further developed under the Demtech Fellowship Program.


2.Davita.Official 

Project “Davita. Official” combines Ps version of the game, Android and ioS applications, chatbots, trainings and meetings, articles and multimedia materials, online communication campaign, offline communication campaign, media support and events.




The gameplay of Davita is as follows - the player chooses the prefered category (Politics, science, economics, healthcare, technology, etc) and receives several envelopes with questions throughout the game. If “Davita” (a player) gets the question right, they receive points, if not - Davita’s head becomes bigger and loses the game.

Davita’s aim is to help young people aged 15-25 to raise media literacy skills, therefore Davita speaks their language when sharing Facebook status or when writing an article. Davita also has a TV show. 

The semi-educational online show of Davita’s own called - “Mom, don’t share the lies”. The show has 9 parts, each dedicated to one of Davita’s themes, where the host discusses disinformation regarding each subject together with the theme expert, making jokes and sharing the important messages along the way.

Some of the figures:

Unique players – 166 000+ 
Sessions – 380 000+
Game apps download In just one month – 4000 +
Article Reads – 25 000+
SM Reach and Engagement – 3 million +

The project is developed by DemLab in collaboration with the US Embassy Tbilisi, ForSet, Lemondo, Kraken, Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and GIPA.

3.The Empire of Lies 
In The Empire of Lies, a player takes on the role of fake news-monger while dropping all pretence of ethics and choosing a path that builds their persona as an unscrupulous media magnate. The Player’s task is to get as many followers as they can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site. But they need to watch out: the player loses if they tell obvious lies or disappoint their supporters!

The Empire of Lies is the Georgian version of the well-known game “Get Bad News”. The author of the game is On.ge. Design and development: ForSet. The Empire of Lies was played more than 16.000 times.  



4.Troll Island 

The main characters in Troll Island are Mimi and Dete. Mimi is lost on a desert island. After a long search, Dete finds the island where Mimi is.

However, Dete meets 7 girls who all look like Mimi. To save his friend Dete gas to find all of Mimi’s clones and answer their questions. If the answer is correct, one of two Mimis who is actually a troll, unmarked herself.

If the answer is incorrect, one more troll with Mimi’s face appears and complicates Dete’s mission even more. If Dete answers all  7 questions correctly, he will find his friend soon and they will leave the island together. 

The game was developed under the collaboration between ForSet and Media Development Foundation.


5.cyberbullying
The goal of the game is to develop a player’s skills of identifying, preventing and responding to cyberbullying threats.

The game’s character is 16-year-old Kira. She is sitting in a dim room with 7 cyber-ghosts. Kira has to answer 7 questions. The correct answer makes a ghost disappear and the room brightens. An incorrect answer causes one more ghost to appear. 
The game was developed under the collaboration between ForSet and Media Development Foundation.



6.Hate or Tolerate


Imagine that you are a journalist. The game gives you an opportunity to independently build a story and publish it, seek sources, verify facts, balance opinions and more importantly, test yourself whether you are a tolerant or intolerant reporter.

In the first stage, a participant takes decisions by ticking a correct answer from several possible answers; in the second stage, she/he builds a story and publishes it on the agency webpage.

The player with the best result will turn into an angel, while the player with the worst result will burst with anger in the end. Everyone has an opportunity to view the final piece of work and analyze mistakes.

The game was developed under the collaboration between ForSet and Media Development Foundation.




7.Shopping in Milan

Shopping in Milan aims at identifying a degree of a player’s awareness on the need to protect personal data and cyber hygiene and how it affects his/her daily lids.
The main character in the game is 17-year-old Mila who has graduated from school with high grades and has been rewarded by her parents with the funding for a trip to Milan. During preparations for the tip as well as the travel, she has to take decisions on issues concerning her personal data and cybersecurity. To this end, she has to answer 10 questions. When an answer is correct, the player gets 10 coins (0ne answer = 10 coins), enabling her to shop in Milan at the end of the game. The player is allowed to buy only one object. However, when the answer is wrong the player loses an item of clothing per the wrong answer. 

The game was developed under the collaboration between ForSet and Media Development Foundation. 



8.Measure the truth and your nose!

In the game, a player evaluates the credibility of information and various propaganda methods. To do so, the player must select one of four alternative answers. If the answer is incorrect, the player’s nose will grow in Pinocchio's style. If the answer is correct, the nose will shorten and take on a perfect shape.



The game was developed under the collaboration between ForSet and Media Development Foundation and has been played around 5000 times.

9.Grandma’s Album
The objective of the game is to have a player to identify, geolocation by observing the details and learn the story of that place that is shown on the historic photo.
Grandchild helps the grandma recall a forgotten location shown on her old photos. There are three modern photos in front of the player. By observing the details, the player must identify the place from the given three locations, where the historic black-and-white photo was shot.

Instructions:
Initially, all black-and-white photos from grandma’s archive will appear on the screen. With the help of the mouse, the player should decide him/herself the order of examining the photos. After clicking a photo, the black-and-white photo will enlarge and three modern photos will simultaneously appear on the screen. To observe the details, the player can enlarge colour photos by clicking on them. After the player selects the answer, he/she will drag and drop the colour photo onto the black-and-white photo.
If the answer is correct, grandma will tell a short story of the photo to the player. If the answer is wrong, grandma will advise the player to try again. 





Conclusion


While using gamification for social good is a relatively new approach, not only in Georgia but also - worldwide, we at DCN are assured that those days are long gone when gamification was used for solely entertainment and business purposes. We see positive trends in Georgia in that regard and are hoping that Georgia continues integrating new technologies to fight against fake news.