No ads? No problem. The Gray Lady Levels up

Well this is interesting. Yesterday's New York Time's piece on the allure of time-sucking "stupid games" featured a stupid game embedded in the story itself. Using the space bar and arrow keys, the Asteroids-style challenge allows the reader to blast away the parts of the page she doesn't want or like. Even the advertisers were on board, according to this story at Nieman Jounalism Lab.

'Originally we thought there would be a very strong push back and people would say this is not The New York Times,' he said. 'But there’s been a lot of enthusiasm' — even from advertising, he told me. You would think of all the pixels involved on a web page, the advertising would be the last thing you would want to get rid of, especially in the journalism business. But [Multimedia producer Jon] Huang said the ad staff was on board, telling the multimedia team that if they couldn’t find cooperative clients they’d run house ads....

...[T]he game will likely be another element to help garner interest in the piece ahead of the Sunday paper. Of course, whether people are actually reading it or just trying to get a new high score while evaporating Google ads is another question. Huang said he expects most people will take the time to read the story, once they finally stop playing the game.

Going all meta, the game was a clever compliment to a story on the power of Angry Birds and Farmville to draw us into their worlds. And to be perfectly honest, I read the whole thing - before playing the game. Bad gamer.