Forget debates: political games are the way to reach potential voters!
Playing and creating political games fuel political involvement
In the Netherlands, too, new media have become an inextricable element in political campaigns. The socialist party SP and the Christian democratic party ChristenUnie launched online games -- Operatie Grote Schoonmaak (Operation Big Sweep) and Race met Rouvoet (Race with Rouvoet, named after the party leader), respectively -- in an attempt to draw the attention of young people. Is it possible for political parties to influence voters in this seemingly playful manner? Erasmus University Rotterdam researchers Joyce Neys and Jeroen Jansz from the Faculty of History and Arts (Department of Media and Communication) researched the impact of political games on potential voters. The study revealed that potential voters who play and create these games feel highly politically and socially engaged.
Jansz and Neys primarily researched games created by concerned citizens, such as Darfur is Dying and September the 12th. Interviews with the developers of these games showed that they had specifically selected this medium. Gaming provides a platform to interact with and inform players in an entertaining manner about a certain subject, through which players become engaged in the subject. This combination of information and entertainment makes gaming ideal for expanding public interest in political and social issues.
Players indicated afterwards that they felt more inclined to research the issue addressed by the game. Another of the researchers" conclusions is that playing games such as these also serves as a social facilitator, as those who played the game discuss the issue with their friends and family. The motivation to informally discuss the subject addressed with friends and family indicates greater political and social engagement. Games such as these are a relatively simple tool for increasing the role of the politics in everyday life.
The results of the study will be published in the September issue of the European Journal of Communication.
Article bibliographic reference:
Neys, J.L.D. & Jansz, J. (forthcoming). Engaging an audience: political internet games. European Journal of Communication, 25(3), 1-15
About the researchers
Professor Jeroen Jansz holds the endowed chair in Media and Communication and is a member of the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC). His research focuses on the changing roles of media producers and media consumers both online and in interactive media.
Joyce Neys is a PhD student and lecturer at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC) and the Department of Media and Communication (Faculty of History and Arts). Her research areas include new media
See for more information:
Amanda Koopman, Communications Officer Faculty of History and Arts,
e-mail: koopman@ smc.eur.nl
Publication date: 17 June 2010