Amidst a world of information overload, what prompts us to make decisions about what information we rely on? And what does that experience look like if you’re a professional journalist having to sift through all sorts of information in order to get an accurate news story out on deadline and under pressure?
These kinds of questions have been at the core of media literacy games across different continents, but we were particularly excited when we were invited to address these questions using a different game player experience: advancing stages in the game merely with the power of one’s thoughts. The game is Με Τον Νου Σου!, which roughly translates to Use Your Head, and was created in collaboration with the award-winning artist Yiota Demetriou, who invited Media What to collaborate on her project What gives us goosebumps? The project is funded by Arts Council England and uses Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) tech, enabling the player, wearing the BCI headset, to interact with our co-written story without the click of a button or a hand-held controller, but merely by concentrating on what they would like to do when asked about how they would like to advance the narrative. Her past work includes Love Letters, and the acclaimed limited edition paper-based heat and touch sensitive book about love and loss, To You.
Με Tον Νου Σου! story takes place in Cyprus and positions the player as a modern-day journalist who gets a tip on a story. Throughout the narrative the player has to make a series of decisions that will help lead them to publishing the story. The game aims to draw attention to the implicit and intuitive decisions we make when we are deciding on information credibility, and to offer a glimpse into the daily routine of a journalist, whose primary duty is to report accurate information, but to do so before other organizations report it, in order to reach a bigger audience.
The collaboration came under fruition through the Artist Residency program at Youth Makerspace Larnaka. We will be presenting the rationale and design for Με Τον Νου Σου on 27 March 2021 online. We anticipate that in the summer of 2021, should COVID-19 measures allow it, we will be able to hold an event at Youth Makerspace Larnaka, where anyone can try out what it’s like to think like a journalist, even for a few minutes.