We weren't sure what to expect when we rolled up to the first annual Knight News Game Awards, wearing our finest armor and eager to graciously accept our much-deserved award for sharpest swords. It turns out the ceremony, named for its sponsor -- the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation -- is designed instead to recognize a new genre of games, namely those that are "journalistic and enhance people's ability to make decisions in a democracy." Boy, were our faces red, not that you could tell beneath our newly-polished helmets.

The awards presentation is set to kick off as part of the Games for Change Festival this week, which runs from May 27-29 in New York City. Event organizers today announced the finalists for the awards, which include a handful of socially-conscious games including Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City, Play the News and the controversial September 12th – A Toy World. Our pick: The Budget Maze, where players navigate a dungeon while quizzing zombies on city or state budget processes. Who better to consult on financial planning than the undead?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.