National Geographic, General Electric (GE), and The Centre for Science have partnered to produce an online city management game that is focused on the city’s environment. Plan It Green: The Big Switch was just released earlier today.
The idea of using games to positively influence people has already been promoted quite a bit, but, how effective will this one be?
I’ve been playing Plan It Green: The Big Switch in order to be able to adequately review it. While playing the game, I’ve noticed that it does appear to be a full-blown city game, which allows you to build factories, coal power plants, roads, pavilions, wildlife sanctuaries, and more. It also enables you to build houses and collect taxes from them.
This game is reminiscent of Megapolis, a city-management game in which you can build houses, assembly lines, wind turbines, thermal power plants, and more.
However, Megapolis requires real money to purchase “megabucks” which are exclusively required for certain tasks, such as land expansion. Another difference between Plan It Green and Megapolis is that Plan It Green makes environmental and energy efficiency suggestions.
The suggestions include garage sales that enable you to give your old items to people that would use them, as an alternative to sending them to landfills.
Another one of the suggestions is to recycle items. While playing the game, it tells you a little bit about energy news in the real world — for example, the fact that some countries, including Australia, offer tax breaks for environmentally friendly buildings.
“Students learn at home and through school how important recycling and eco-friendly habits are to their environment, but Plan It Green takes these lessons a step further,” said Chris Mate, Vice President of Games for National Geographic.
Games do have the potential to influence players. However, they need players to pull that off in the first place. Let us wait and see if this game attracts many players.
Note: the game can be played here.