Parents' Guide to

Headliner: NoviNews

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Clever adventure game shows the consequences of media bias.

Game Windows 2018
Headliner: NoviNews Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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In the current "fake news" climate, there need to be more games like this little indie adventure gem. Through simple 2D art and clever storytelling, Headliner: NoviNews shows in clear, understandable terms exactly how the media both informs and distorts our reality. Few of us have seen the inner workings of a newsroom, but this game presents a convincing picture of what that would be like.

Picture yourself as the insider sitting at a desk, deciding what people know. Would you tell them the truth, no matter how painful it might be for you and for them? Or would you take the easy way out and tell them what they want to hear? Making those decisions isn't easy, especially when they affect the people you love, and Headliner: NoviNews does a great job of demonstrating just how tough it would be. Better yet, it provides insight into why someone might make certain decisions: how they might distort information to please special interest groups or for personal gain. The game's very short at around 90 minutes, but its collection of complex ethical questions gives it great replayability. Different choices provide different outcomes, and you can even see other players' results. The one area that could use improvement is your customizable home base. While you're able to buy furnishings and accessories for your place, it isn't all that satisfying, since they don't actually do a heck of a lot. On top of that, the language and frequent references to alcohol aren't the best for young kids. Still, the game's graphics and sound are nice, and the message they convey is important. For parents wondering how to explain the current fake news crisis to their kids, this is a means of doing so that's entertaining and informative.

Game Details

  • Platform: Windows
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online?: Available online
  • Publisher: Unbound Creations
  • Release date: October 23, 2018
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: April 2, 2021

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