The social impact game that puts fake news on blast

Project Bad News
Diensten App, Huisstijl, Interactie

How a serious game that fights against fake news makes international headlines.

The game

DROG, a group of scientists, journalists and media-experts asked us for help, creating an interactive method to fight fake news. We came up with several ideas, but this one stood out: a game that invites players to destroy the world by disinformation. The game will players will understand their tricks. So check your morals at the door, and see how fun it is to distort the truth, get into online fights, and gather a million loyal followers along the way! You can play the game here, but don’t forget to come back and read this article.

An educational game helps you understand online tricks in modern media.
Once you understand how it works, fake news is easier to spot. Once you understand how it works, fake news is easier to spot.

Dutch design

We designed and developed the brand identity and the online responsive game you can play in your browser. We’re a Dutch design studio, but it isn’t typical Dutch design: we took inspiration from the “tacky” and “over-the-top” aesthetic of tabloid newspapers and clickbait media sites. We made several prototypes with different designs before settling on one that uses simple index cards and a 1980s teleprinter-inspired typeface that feels very game-y. Bright, primary colours such as red, yellow and blue contrast with the game’s serious content.

Playing fast and loose with the truth will result in more followers! Playing fast and loose with the truth will result in more followers!

We had a great time playing this Fake News game… except for the feelings of “Wow, this is too real” and the “Oh no, this seems familiar…”!

Kathryn A. Martin Library, Minnesota

Ugly lies

“During the initial design phase, we started out with a much cleaner, pleasing visual design but we found that it was too nice,” lead designer Bas Janson told Design Week London. “The game’s mission was all about showing you a dark side of news, something that is reflected in how ‘cheap’ the design looks. On multiple occasions, we had to tell ourselves ‘it needs to be uglier’ – something that we’re not used to as a design studio!”

Changing the world

We’re pretty excited about how succesful the game and its accompanying study by Cambridge University have been. The game is being played all over the world, will be translated in just about every language imaginable, and we will assist DROG in their continued fight against disinformation. If you need a serious game, with or without bright yellow backgrounds, you know where to find us.

Share your progress and challenge others to beat your score!
This game upgrades your defense against fake news. This game upgrades your defense against fake news.

Making headlines

Read more about the game, designed and developed by Gusmanson, on some of your favorite websites.

Great news!

We’re excited to let you know that we have been nominated for Beazley Designs of the Year! Bad News will be on display at the Design Museum London until 6 January 2019.

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