Shaun C Green directed me at Nostalgia For Infinity picking up The Daily Mail reporting a story in a somewhat strange way. They report on the sad story of a woman apparently who neglected her children and let her dogs starve to death due to her obsession with the board-game Smallworld. Except, in addition to assets from the boardgame, they use an image of Warhammer Online, even seeming to add an URL to Days of Wonder’s site to the image.
There’s a twist to even this, however. As far as I’m able to ascertain, there’s no Smallworld game which you could receive a facebook invite for. It simply doesn’t exist. There’s some other games from Days of Wonder, sure, but unless something has changed suddenly, there simply isn’t a Facebook-integrated Smallworld game. In fact, there’s not even one you can play online. However, there is SmallWorlds – plural – social world thing which seems to fit the bill. This story’s been picked up by other newspapers today. We’ve contacted the Mail and all the developers for comment.
UPDATE: We may have reached the bottom of this, speaking to Roger Pearson who wrote the apparent origin-story up for Mercury Press Agency…
If you’re not aware, core stories are often sourced by agencies, then sold to newspapers who change them to their style and add elements of their own. I wrote to Roger, the writer of the original piece, which included the name “Small World” but no further details on the game, who responded…
I’ve already been contacted by the Daily Mail on this – indeed I did a check
with the reporter who supplied the story yesterday afternoon after a query
from The Sun.
The best I can tell you is that the judge and lawyers all referred in court
to a game called Small World – not Worlds. Whether they were wrong in the
way they were referring to it we cant say. Going on your comments it sounds
as if they may have been.
The reporter could only go on what was said in court though. That is of
course privileged, and if he had changed it to another name he would have
been laying himself open to trouble if he changed it wrongly.
He’s not a computer games player so he wouldn’t be up on the finer computer
game points you’ve mentioned.
Afraid that’s the best I can tell you.
In other words, if an apparent error in court filters down and everyone takes it on face-value, with the newspapers who buy the core story seeming to lack the knowledge – or failed in their research – to realise that it must be a mistake. Of course, this doesn’t explain the Warhammer image, so we’ll keep you up to date on that.