Just The Facts

Just The Facts is a writing game where players take on the role of a wildlife journalist. By completing assignments for their editor, players learn each step of writing a 5 paragraph essay and finish the game with their own original paper about an endangered species.

Just The Facts is designed to improve reading and writing comprehension in underserved elementary schools. The goal of the game is to provide players with helpful feedback and scaffolding as they learn to write structured papers. By focusing on the player’s identity as a wildlife journalist, the game communicates the real life applications of writing and helps promote intrinsic interest in the subject.

Players begin by choosing an endangered species to write about. Over the course of the game, they must use their writing skills to raise awareness about their chosen species and help prevent it from becoming extinct.

Players begin by choosing an endangered species to write about. Over the course of the game, they must use their writing skills to raise awareness about their chosen species and help prevent it from becoming extinct.

As the lead game designer on the project, my role involved figuring out the design challenges involved in making a game to teach writing. Because players write their own original essay over the course of the game, the team had to take special care in ensuring that students remained engaged throughout the experience. Balancing the amount of writing and text content in the game with interesting rewards and mechanics was a tough challenge!

Players use their detective skills to distinguish facts from opinions and solve the mystery of why their species is at risk. Players earn rewards for using powerful facts and vocabulary words in their paper.

Players use their detective skills to distinguish facts from opinions and solve the mystery of why their species is at risk. Players earn rewards for using powerful facts and vocabulary words in their paper.

Over the course of the game, players participate in each of the following steps for writing an essay:

  • Topic Selection

  • Research and note-taking

  • Creating an essay map

  • Writing introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs

  • Peer review

  • Publishing

At the end of the game, players can save and print their essay along with a certificate of achievement. On the certificate, players can see all of the rewards they earned: photos, golden photos, and reporter promotions.

At the end of the game, players can save and print their essay along with a certificate of achievement. On the certificate, players can see all of the rewards they earned: photos, golden photos, and reporter promotions.

Quinn Crossley