Updated: May 9
What's going on everyone?
So I actually taught this lesson several months back, but just never got around to posting about it here. You can find the lesson for the game here. The Republia Times is a great little free game by Lucas Pope where you play as a minister of propaganda in the fake country of Republia. You control the headlines and layout of the country's newspaper and your aim is to increase both loyalty and readership numbers.
You can choose to follow the very direct guidelines provided by your government, or you can foster disloyalty in order to help an ongoing rebellion. Helping the rebellion, however, will put your family at risk. The lesson gives students the opportunity to not only critique newspapers and their influence, but actually interact and take part in said influence.
What is also great about The Republia Times is that it is very short with a normal playthough only taking about 10 minutes. This gives students the opportunity to play multiple times while making different decisions in order to experience the different endings.
As you can see with the student on the right, they on average only lasted a couple of days before they "lost" the game and their family was killed. They also correctly noticed that they were being asked to publish articles about the weather, sports, or the military in order to distract from ongoing problems in the country.
This student also wanted to help the rebellion, which was the main cause for "losing" after only 2 days. This student did not want to help Republia because they believed the country was corrupt. While this student did not get a chance to survive until the "end" of the game she was working with another student who did get further. (I put end in quotes because the game never really ends. If you help the rebellion, the game repeats and you end up with the same job, but in a new country).
While this student's answers to questions 5 and 6 could be more fleshed out, their answer to the Aim is spot on. They speak about how the media makes it possible to shape public opinion over "wide geographic areas." They also mention the media is trying to let the people know what to think. It is clear that the student understood the main message of the game about how powerful media, especially state sponsored media, can be. (Note that this student's native language uses a different alphabet which is why the handwriting may be difficult to read).
This lesson was only one day long and was used when talking about propaganda and media during times of war. In times where it is often difficult to know which news sources are legitimate, or appropriate, we need to get our students to think critically about the media they are consuming. And very importantly, the game is free. A lot of the feedback I have received about this website is that we need more opportunities to play free games because access some of these materials can be difficult to come by.
I'm on a constant lookout for games like The Republia Times, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you know about anything similar.
Thanks for reading,