In light of the upcoming provincial election, the Winnipeg Free Press recently approached MCG to develop an interactive game for their website; one that would create interest in the electoral process and support voter engagement. The result of the joint effort is ‘Whack an Issue’, a light-hearted, non-partisan online game now running on the ‘Democracy Project’ section of the WFP website.
The game creates a fun environment where people are encouraged to think about which election issues matter to them. In the spirit of carnival games of a bygone era – like agency favourite ‘Whack a Mole’ in particular – players are instructed to ‘whack’ as many ‘issues’ as they can. But it’s not just a matter of randomness – players get points for their speed and consistency.
As part of the game’s development, MCG created customized characters to represent each of the big issues – health care, law and order, economy, infrastructure, education, environment and poverty – each one reacting slightly differently when whacked.
Individual high scores, as well as a province-wide rolling total, are tabulated at the end of each play – with the top player winning coffee with the premier at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café. Secondary prizes include Winnipeg Jets tickets and movie passes.
‘Whack an Issue’ targets everyone, but in particular a younger audience – a demographic that has traditionally been less likely to vote.
“Increasingly, MCG is developing unique and interactive adver-games as part of larger campaigns for our clients,” says Jesse Cringan, account director. “We were happy to collaborate with the Free Press on a project that’s both flighty and fun, but also intended to support efforts designed to increase voter participation – especially amongst young people.”