After a poll revealed at 54% of her eligible viewers were not registered voters, with weeks to go before the crucial 2018 midterm elections, Samantha Bee set out to do something to get out the vote.
Bee's team created an app called This is Not a Game: The Game that "gamifies" the process of voter registration, which combines voting and voter education with trivia quizzes on electoral issues, with cash prizes for lucky winners.
A huge part of this learning process came this past spring, when Full Frontal took a mockup of the game to a Lesbians Who Tech summit in San Francisco in search of input. "We got some really loving and harsh feedback," Werbach says, laughing. "It was like, 'I wouldn't play this,' 'You're funny, but this game isn't.'"
That feedback, though, helped the team refine the game, the final version of which Werbach hopes will be funny and hopefully get people involved in the voting process. The app is connected to Vote.org, which helps users make sure they're registered and get election reminders. "There's pretty good research that once people are in that system, it raises their voting propensity," Werbach says. Beyond that, though, the likelihook of converting contestants to vote-casters is still unknown. "I think we're happy with what we've created," Werbach says, "but I don't think we know whether it will work."
Can Samantha Bee's Comedy Quiz App Gamify Getting out the Vote? [Angela Watercutter/Wired]