Choice of the Journo: A Branching-path Phone-friendly Role-playing Simulation for Journalism 101

How can a nostalgic, branching-path story-game encourage my 100-level journalism students take risks and learn from their mistakes?

Using the ChoiceScript programming language, which features a robust stats system that can remember and respond to player choices, I coded up a “writing your first news story for the student paper” scenario, which unfolds as a series of potential gameplay options internally coded to affect a player’s character statistics.

For instance, the game tracks how trusting you are vs. how cynically suspicious you are, with the idea that an open-minded skepticism (between the two extremes) would be the best attitude, but the game allows students who are new to journalism to make rookie mistakes in a safe space where the consequences are only simulated.

Deploying a feature of the ChoiceScript system for telling stories, the player’s choices affect the environment, sometimes in trivial, but sometimes in significant ways.

Students who played an earlier prototype found the is in-progress game “nostalgic” and engaging, and certainly preferred playing this game to learning these same basic lessons through a traditional chapter comprehension quiz.

I welcome comments on the content and structure of this project, as I continue to develop “Choice of the Journo.

Play “Choice of the Journo v. 0.33”


ChoiceScript games are designed to be phone-friendly, but the above link should open in any browser. 



About the ChoiceScript programming language. (A general introduction to the language; not a specific analysis of the code for this in-progress journalism game.)

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