Critical Balance – Learn about: Wibke wirre Welt

Wibke wirre Welt is an educational game created by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. It takes the player to a video scenario, where he/she gets to manipulate the title character in becoming an ever-more extreme believer in conspiracy theories, while learning more on how to protect him-/herself from them. There are many clickable elements on the screen, which the player needs to discover. They include:

  • A description of popular conspiracy theories, from Corona through Q-Anon to flat earth.
  • Expert videos: advice from a psychologist, right-wing extremist expert etc.
  • Checklists and videos on how to recognize a conspiracy theory.
  • A test for checking one’s willingness to trust in mainstream narratives / conspiracies
  • Advice for getting out of the rabbit hole.

The game is based on captured video footage, which can be interacted with by means of clicking. This was a style of gaming popular in the 1990, but has recently reemerged, this time with a retro appeal and an infinitely better pixel rate. Its main advantage lies in presenting a narrative in a compelling way – it is like a movie one can interact with. This increases one’s attention span and stimulates the player to discover hidden or not immediately visible features of the game.

The game is an excellent example of gamification in education – the player is encouraged to discover more contents and is rewarded with short, clear explanations – no need for reading long articles and watching very long videos. The content is divided into small, manageable chunks, and the player is welcome to re-read / re-watch them if needed. The design of the game encourages seeking out all content. This is also done in an emotionally appealing way, with different characters disagreeing with each other and presenting conflicting points of view. A very useful tool for teenagers and young adults, its only limitation being that it is available only in German.