A small team of creatives have been working away in the Makerspace on an exciting project to create an online 2D narrative based game, designed to introduce basic concepts around referencing, plagiarism, fake news, and critical thinking.
Created by game designer/writer Rebecca Kerr, programmer Michael Weibrands, artist Jesse Bryant and producer Karen Miller, Certitude is inspired by popular games such as Headliner, Papers Please, and Orwell.
The player is a fact checker for a prestigious publication company, whose job is to proofread, fact-check and check the sources used to create the articles, which have been written by five different writers who work for the publication company.
All of the information required to fact check the articles is provided within the game or by exploring the links to the sources of information on the internet. Help is also provided by one of the characters who can explain why it is important (eg to reference correctly, to acknowledge sources etc). If everything is correct, you approve it, if not then it is rejected and sent back to the author for correction. As the story progresses through the levels the complexity of the types of inaccuracies increases. Narrative branching, depending on correct or incorrect fact checking impacts the overall storyline, and rewards (upgrades to the office) are earned for correctly rejecting/approving articles.
There are different characters in the game (5 writers each with their own personalities and standpoints), a boss and a helper. Feedback from the boss and helper about the players progress is provided through dialogue, and there is also different interactions with the writers, depending on whether the player accepts or rejects their articles.
Players learn the importance of acknowledging sources and referencing correctly, as well as the basics of how it is done. By reading the articles, the player is introduced to different perspectives on different issues (good for critical thinking), and the ideas of bias and fake news.