The social impact game that puts fake news on blast

Project Bad News

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

The game

We worked with DROG, a group of researchers, journalists and media-experts and the University of Cambridge to create a serious game about fake news. The brief was: create an interactive method to fight fake news. We came up with several ideas, one of which: a game that invites players to destroy the world by disinformation. Check your morals at the door, and discover how to distort the truth, command a bot army, and gather a million loyal followers! You can play the game here, but don’t forget to come back and read the article below.

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

For the game’s visual identity 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. We think it works well to highlight the game’s over-the-top content, while still doing justice to  the – all too real – underlying concept of disinformation and manipulation.

Development included several prototypes and user tests. We built the browser based game to be played on all modern devices and browsers, making the highly informative game playable from New Delhi to New York. The final game was built with Vue and WordPress CMS.

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 continue to assist DROG in their fight against disinformation.

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!

Bad News was nominated for Beazley Design of the Year 2018!

Binckhorstlaan 36
Den Haag