Newsgaming is an ever topical area, serious issues portrayed through the medium of games often draws attention and is met with mixed reviews. Some embrace the idea of an interactive experience, while others reject the concept outright on grounds that it's insensitive or unethical. GameTheNews is no stranger to this controversy with their most notable releases End Game: Syria and NarcoGuerra, games based around the Syrian civil war and drug problems plaguing Mexico respectively. However their latest offering has taken a bit of a detour from the serious – gamifying the Shark Cat meme.
Their latest release, I Heart Shark Cat, is a game built in a single day inspired by the Shark Cat meme released by texasgirly1979 on YouTube. For those not in the know; Shark Cat is a cat named Max-Arthur, who likes dressing as a shark while riding a floor polisher. The latest video has Shark Cat chasing a duck on his ever advancing cleaning machine and already has amassed over 3 million views.
A GameTheNews' representative said “Memes are important as they often arise from grassroots and point to underlying social or political currents. They can also just be great fun. By building this title from GameMaker:Studio in a single day we're experimenting with new ways that newsgaming can be used for any topical subject, be it serious or amusing.”
'Cow Crusher', Game The News's previous release took a comical look at a serious issue, the horse-meat scandal. With such diverse subject areas being covered, people are left wondering where they'll venture next? GameTheNews says, “We're going back to serious topics next and we'll be looking at the Jack the Ripper murders as this November is the 125 th anniversary of the last of the canonical murders ascribed to the still unknown killer.”
I Heart Shark Cat is out now and is free to play on GameTheNews.net as a HTML5 title.
Notes for Editors Only
Press Image Pack - http://bit.ly/iheartsharkcatPics
Link to the game - http://bit.ly/iheartsharkcat
GameTheNews.net is a project by digital development and consultancy studio Auroch Digital, based at Bristol Games Hub, UK. The project is exploring how games can be developed from news stories. They have produced a number of games on a variety of topics from the US elections to the horse-meat scandal. GameTheNews games can be found here on their site and on Wired and the Huffington Post.