Abstract: The goal of this study is to explore the role of digital games as political actors in digital journalism. The development of digital games designed to frame journalistic messages led to the emergence of newsgames. This trend impacts online mass media outlets’ performance as political actors in democratic polities. In this article, we explore the current relationship between political communication and newsgames by answering the following research question: How do online mass media outlets use newsgames to report, interpret, and critically analyze democratic polities?In this study, an inductive grounded theory approach was used to analyze 29 political newsgames published in 25 mass-media digital outlets across 11 different countries. The findings reveal that mass media outlets employ political newsgames to perform four distinct functions when covering political events: analytical reportage, commentary, critical scrutiny, and representation.
Keywords: digital games; game studies; newsgames; politainment; political communication