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Games can solve the ‘fake news’ problem by teaching critical thinking

Stephanie CarmichaelJuly 21, 2017

Students need to learn to identify “fake news” in the media, and games could be the answer.

Oliver Lewis, the founder of charitable organization The Near Future Society, recently spoke about games as a solution for “fake news, bias, and extremism” at the Develop conference in Brighton, England, according to Lewis is also a former diplomat and the current vice president of corporate development at Improbable, a British technology company that develops game development platform SpatialOS.

“The idea [of The Near Future Society] was to get together government, technology, education, and entertainment people to talk about how to address the problems of the world,” said Nick Button-Brown, one of Improbable’s advisors and the chief operating officer of Sensible Object, the maker of Beasts of Balance, a Jenga-meets-Pokémon game that combines digital and physical play. “When we met the government people, the thing they were most worried about was fake news, and the impact fake news has on people’s opinions.”

Lewis and Button-Brown say that games enable players to make choices and understand their consequences, which involves a level of critical thinking that’s absent from other types of media.

“There are just so many games where, fundamentally, we teach players to think analytically,” Button-Brown said. “We teach them to question their environment, and to expect that the people that are talking to them are not necessarily telling the truth all the time. That’s what we do in our stories. We’re already doing it, and we’re actually quite good at it.”

You can read more about Lewis and Button-Brown’s talk at

Photo credit: Melpomene /