KNC12 MOBILE | MARK OF THE BEAST: Mobile data newsgame | Knight News Challenge 2012

I’ve updated and resubmitted my proposal from the Knight News Challenge Data round in the current mobile round of the Knight News Challenge.

MARK OF THE BEAST: Mobile data newsgame

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]
Mark of the Beast is a mobile newsgame that uses bar codes and RFID to teach data literacy skills to journalists and citizens.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]
Mark of the Beast will use draw upon mobile phone features and sensor data, including geolocation, camera images, near-field communication, text, e-mail, and Web to engage users in a quantified-self type of game. They then manipulate that data as in-game tasks that also teach them data handling skills useful in journalism.

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists and others who want to learn data literacy skills will use it, as well as people seeking a fun, rich gaming experience.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.
Journalists and the public will learn about Mark of the Beast through:
– established journalist networks, such as Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Forum for African Investigative Reporters, WJChat , journalism schools and alumni associations;
– digital/social media such as Twitter, Facebook, serious games sites such as Gameful, professional trade sites like Gamasutra and the International Game Developers Association, consumer gaming news sites like and, game distribution channels like the Apple App store, Google Play, Valve’s Steam store, and so on.
– journalists, friends and peers who play the game.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]
I am currently set to participate in Techraking with the Center for Investigative Reporting and IGN later in September, planning a newsgame hack day as an Innovate News event in association with the UXI design community, and potentially TIFFNet (Toronto International Film Festival’s year-round body), the International Game Developers Association, Interactive Ontario and Entertainment Software Association of Canada trade groups, and Toronto’s DigiFest festival [discussions in progress]. I also moderate a newsgaming forum on Gameful.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]
I have already completed the first phase of consultations with domain experts and am working on designing the key interactions and behavior mechanisms that will form the basis of the game. The game is in the middle of the principal design stage.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]
Success would be first seeing people enjoying the game and learning from it, even if they don’t realize that’s what they are doing. Second, making a game that is compelling enough that it can include a sustainable business model in industry or consumer markets would be ideal.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
Mark of the Beast will need technical expertise in game design and programming, and physical/electronic mobile media. This game is an experimental prototype that we hope to build upon.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder,
B. Chmielewski, co-founder, Sweet Caesar; Android, iOS, BlackBerry developer for clients and projects such as U2, Toronto International Film Festival, IDEO, RIM.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
M. Saniga, CA: President and co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
K. Seto: Founder of Massive Damage game studio and Endloop Mobile. Built Please Stay Calm, a popular location based game.

Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Estimated Project Cost: $180,000 [Experienced mobile game coder, designer, hardware expert]
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: / Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals for years.

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