Latest Updates: Our Blog

Introducing Switch, A News Game About New York City’s Energy Gap

Sep 30th, 2009


Amanda Hickman

Cross posted from PBS Idealab.

Our latest (and last, for now) news game, Switch, is live. It is no Energyville but we think it is pretty awesome. Not only is it live, the source code and installation instructions are already available.

With gadgets guzzling evermore energy, New York City faces a looming energy gap. New Yorkers will have to cut back on our electric use or start generating a lot more power. Our game lets people explore the options that are on the table, along with a few that aren’t. Should the city ban air conditioning? Harness the tides? Go nuclear? Warning: the game is addictive.

Switch is a concentration-style game that deals each player 18 pairs of cards, each representing an opportunity for the city to conserve or produce electricity. As players match pairs, they’re asked to decide whether each policy initiative is a good fit for New York City. At the end (or whenever the player grows bored!) players “flip the switch” to see how the measures they’ve accepted would add up against the city’s predicted 2030 energy needs.

We worked with Will James of Tekimaki, whom we met through his very cool subway map project at onNYTurf which, in addition to being both early and awesome, is the only online NYC map I know of that is available in Estonian.

We’ve learned a lot about gaming and news games over the last two years, and a lot about building them on the cheap. More on that after you’ve all played Switch!

Discuss Introducing Switch, A News Game About New York City’s Energy Gap on PBS’s IdeaLab.