Cat Park

Serious game

In Cat Park your city is building a park just for cats. Your goal is, of course, to stop that from happening (because who would want a park just for cats?). Using disinformation tactics like emotional language and polarization, you turn the public against the park!

A person holds a phone to see the impression of Cat Park serious game against disinformation

Background

Cat Park is based on “active inoculation” theory, pioneered by the University of Cambridge’s Social Decision-Making Lab. Much as vaccinations work by exposing subjects to an innocuous strain of a virus in order to trigger an immune response, empirical studies indicate that the controlled experience of disinformation through a game can build cognitive resistance to disinformation in the real world. This concept is also known as “prebunking.” Rather than simply waiting for lies to spread and then debunking them with a fact-check, the goal of Cat Park is to proactively educate about common disinformation techniques so that players are better prepared to spot fake news no matter what form it takes.

In a survey analysis of the game’s efficacy conducted by the University of Cambridge, researchers found that individuals who play Cat Park are 19-percentage points more likely than a control group to spot disinformation and 15-percentage points less likely to want to share disinformation.

Gameplay

Over the course of the game the player will travel throughout the city and meet an eclectic cast of characters united in the aim of bringing down the cat park.The player will go through different mini games that expose the player to various ways disinformation can be created and spread on social media. After the player unleashes their disinformation they also learn about counter-disinformation techniques and the benefits and limitations of different approaches. The game is designed to be completed in roughly 15 to 20 minutes.

While these games are available to any interested players, they are recommended for use in classroom settings, framed by basic context on information literacy. A sample lesson plan is available.

Cat Park serious game impression, dialogue with one of the game characters

Credits

This game was developed in collaboraton with the U.S. Department of State’s Global Engagement Center and the University of Cambridge, Gusmanson designed and developed the game and the illustrations were done by Felicia Kiessling.

This interactive digital experience is both fun to play and useful for building media literacy skills. Cat Park is a free-to-play, web browser-based game, that plays equally well on either a computer or smart phone. The game is currently playable in English, French, Dutch, or Russian. Contact us for more translations of the game at translations[at]tiltstudio.co.

Play Cat Park

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