When Games Lead To Content Discovery


The past few months I’ve been grinding on Crossword games in a long query to understand the intersection of music and gaming. As I mentioned before, I come from a long line of solitary gamers, people that use single person games as meditation and therapy. As I get older, I cherish my alone time with words and thinking of other art that can be created through the datasets of gaming.

I’ve been a New York Times crossword subscriber for several years, but until the other night I had never played the New Yorker’s games. “Name Drop” caught my attention and I quickly got sucked into the timed puzzle that ultimately reveals a cultural figure. While the game itself is captivating, why I am writing this goes beyond the play.

The true brilliance of “Name Drop” is its contextual foray into catalog content discovery. Uncover the solution to the puzzle, then read a historical profile of the subject or a story involving them. Play, then double click and go deeper into your cultural education. It’s a simple strategy, and I love it.

I’ve been subscribing to the magazine on and off since I was a teenager. It was a dream of mine, like most young writers of the 90s, to be a New Yorker writer, but it’s never been meant to be. But I am still a dedicated subscriber that struggles to read even a fraction of the magazine every week. Magazines pile in various parts of the house. Finding a starting point when you want to read everything is a huge challenge and most of the time I give up and inevitably read all the cartoons, skim the upfront, and a Shouts & Murmurs, then recycle. But Name Drop gives a fun new context into returning to the stories of the past that maybe just needed a compelling game to be experienced. And I’m hooked, wondering what other new engaging ways will help new and lapsed users discover great art of the past.

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