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Game jam in Barcelona to combat fake news

ca Truth, Lies & Democracy game jam en  es

May 23, 2024

Truth, Lies & Democracy brings together six teams of European players at the Canòdrom to create video games in defense of democracy and to combat disinformation

Three local teams and three European teams participated for three days, from May 17 to 19, at the Canòdrom - Ateneu d'Innovació Digital i Democràtica, to develop video games and interactive proposals focused on fake news and disinformation. In its first edition held within the framework of the European Capital of Democracy, Truth Lies & Democracy gathered renowned professionals from the industries of games, technology, politics, and communication to offer talks and mentoring.

The initiative aims to educate players about the mechanisms of democratic decision-making, disinformation, fake news, privacy, and the impact of new technologies on society. Fake news represents a threat to democracy by undermining faith in elections, fostering distrust, minimizing confidence in journalism, and eroding trust in the government.


Europe has 4,900 game studios, 200 game distributors, and 386 million players, and the project highlights the role of games in promoting European values and democracy. It positions video games as a medium for the new generations to express how democracies must adapt to evolving cultural and political changes.

The inaugural edition of Truth, Lies & Democracy took place last weekend at the Canòdrom - Ateneu d'Innovació Digital i Democràtica, with the participation of three Spanish teams and three international teams traveling from France, Austria, and Denmark to join the pilot programme.

The event began on Friday, May 17, with an opening ceremony streamed live featuring a lecture by Ned Howey (co-founder of Tectonica) on the prevalence of fake news, its historicity, the ways in which the concept has expanded, how malicious misinformation spreads, and how we currently communicate and inform ourselves. Howey delved into the crisis of trust society is experiencing and how fake news capitalizes on this to thrive.


Next, the mentors introduced themselves, shared their experience in the fields of video games and journalism, and explored how video games and disinformation can be linked. The closing of the ceremony was led by the teams who took the stage to present the projects they intended to work on during the event. The ceremony can be viewed here.

Saturday morning began with individual mentoring sessions for each group led by Cristina Figueras (Verificat) and Claudia Ocaranza (, who provided their experience in the field of communication and fake news from two complementary approaches: research and education. From there, the teams started working on the development of their video games, engaging in conversations and exchanges with the other mentors from the video game industry, which allowed them to refine details and resolve doubts in areas such as narrative, programming, production, and game design. Participants included Andres Zardain (producer at Nimble Giant), Olga Fedorova and Marc Palomar (programmers at Gameloft), Oscar García Pañela (Academic Director of ENTI-UB, Serious Games Lab, and consultant partner at Cookie Box), Violeta Moldes (2D artist and narrative designer, PhD candidate at UPF), and Lasse Lopfe (independent developer and professor at CITM).

Final touches and game presentations

Sunday, May 19, was dedicated to polishing the developed prototypes and games. In the afternoon, the mentors returned to the Canòdrom to playtest the games and provide a final round of feedback before each team published their developments on the page created for the jam. Finally, Sunday afternoon was the moment when the teams returned to the stage to share the results, and the partners could announce the rewards prepared to continue the designed games. The game presentations can be viewed here.

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The first edition of Truth, Lies & Democracy presented six games that address the theme of fake news and disinformation from different angles in a playful and interactive manner, with the aim of drawing attention to the impact that disinformation has on our daily lives. From Spain, they presented Sure?, a cooperative game that takes the need to verify information as its central point to create a humorous and teamwork-based proposal that tests communication and attention to detail by placing its players in the role of information receivers. On the other hand, ¡Publícalo! puts the player in the opposite role; this time, we are a journalist trapped in the tension of maintaining our job, our audience, and control over the content of the news we choose to publish. The third Spanish team, with its proposal AlienGuesstimates, also uses humor, this time to make us reflect on the validity of the knowledge we take for granted.

The proposals from the international teams demonstrated how disinformation is a shared problem that transcends borders. The Danish team from the Center of Digital Play at the University of Copenhagen developed Truth is…, a game that shows the ease and speed at which disinformation can escalate as soon as we let our emotions, prejudices, and subjectivities come into play. Meanwhile, the team from Austria (Vienna Calling) developed TruthTube, a proposal that once again puts us in the shoes of journalists facing the pressure of having to meet multiple responsibilities simultaneously, where the content we publish plays a central role. Finally, the team from France presented FAKE Inc., inviting its players to recreate the scenarios of well-known conspiracy theories and demonstrating how easy it is to construct truths—after all, it all depends on the angle of the photo.

The games are available to be tested for free here.

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The organization

The event is part of the program of activities for the European Capital of Democracy, which has been awarded to the city of Barcelona in its first edition. Its technical office is formed by the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan and is an initiative of the Innovation Politics Institute.

Truth, Lies & Democracy is curated by ArsGames and María Luján Oulton, with the support of local and international partners such as: Gameloft BCN, GameBCN, IndieDevDay, DeviCat, Nimble Giant Entertainment, ENTI-UB, CITM-UPC, UPF, ENTI-UB, Fundació and Verificat

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