Organizers for the first annual Knight News Game Awards, which seeks to honor games that are "journalistic and enhance people’s ability to make decisions in a democracy", announced the competition's four finalists.

The titles were picked out according to several criteria: "their role as investigative reporting tools, they needed to expose an unknown logic or new information, uncover a truth, or provide editorial or commentary on a current event or issue." According to its definition on the award's page, "news games" are typically tied to the current news cycle and produced in under a month or two, acting like an op-ed or political cartoon.

You can read about and find links to the finalists below:

The Budget Maze:

"Players in Gotham Gazette’s web-based Budget Maze navigate a dreary dungeon. At various rooms, the player must find the zombie who holds the answers to a question about the city or state budget process in order to move forward."

Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City:

"Global Kids Youth Leaders and game developers from Gamepill created a Web-based game, Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City to recognize local heroes that emerged during the disaster. The game educated players on the essentials of disaster readiness and of reporters."

Play the News:

"Play the News is an engaging, community-driven experience that utilizes 'interactive news' mini games to change news consumption from passive reading to active engagement. The platform is flexible enough to address a range of global and local content."

September 12th – A Toy World:

"Highly controversial at its launch in 2003, September 12th describes the post 9-11 world. Created by a team of Uruguayan game developers lead by a former CNN journalist, this game critically examined the US-led War on Terror."

The winner will be announced at the sixth annual Games for Change festival, held at New York City's Parsons The New School for Design from May 27th to 29th. The Knight Foundation, a nonprofit organization looking to promote excellence in journalism, will sponsor a ceremony on May 28th at the event.