The unexpected news of the resignation of Benedict XVI generated amazement and great interest, given the absolute singularity of the event, not only within the Catholic community.
The media attention to the upcoming conclave has dramatically grown in a matter of days, as well as the spread, via web and social networks, of predictions, of forecasts and analysis aimed at identifying the next pontiff. Information on “papable” cardinals were, however, poor and confusing.
Then why not give users the ability to choose their ideal pope through a game? Top of the Popes was born with this goal: by answering five simple questions users can pick the ideal pope, choosing between the two ideal candidates based on their views, and support him through social networks.
The goal of this experiment was to bring users closer to a moment of historical significance, by promoting the debate about the conclave and the figure of the pope.
The game remained online by Friday, March 8 to Wednesday, March 13, 2013, until the white smoke on St. Peter’s Square announced the election. In 122 hours of activity, the website registered more than 16,000 views, mainly from Europe, USA and Canada. The pope chosen by the participants was Luis Antonio Tagle, who placed first with the 18.47% of the votes.
The mechanism, based on gamification, can easily be replicated in other contexts and repeated during the course of major global events in order to inform in an original way, stimulating the debate and studying the users opinion on the topic.