2010 Best Serious Game Student Category
Skills and Ideas Taught: The benefits and drawbacks of different energy sources and the difficulties in meeting the energy needs for a growing community.
Goal or Challenge: Players will discover that it takes a combination of renewable and traditional energy sources to solve today’s energy needs and finding an energy balance is more difficult than it may seem.
Primary Audience: Families with children age 10 and up.
Assessment Approach: Players who successfully adapt their thinking to using a balanced solution will excel at these three criteria (which are scored): 1) how much of the game map is successfully covered with energy consumers; 2) how much pollution was contained; 3) how well did the player provide enough power before consumers gave up and left the city. Positive reinforcement is used when players successfully provide power to an area by tallying the total number of new energy consumers on a customer satisfaction bar (of sorts). Likewise, negative reinforcement is depicted by consumers leaving an area without receiving power on the same bar. The player is also warned of too much pollution as it begins to rise to unreasonable levels.
Description: Energize challenges the player to provide electricity to a growing community while keeping pollution minimized. The player has five energy producers to choose from: fossil fuel, wind, solar, biomass, and nuclear. Each form has tradeoffs. A fossil fuel plant is cheap to build, but contributes to pollution. When a player relies heavily on them, pollution prompts residents to leave. Nuclear provides the best energy source, but plants are expensive to build and no one wants to live near one making for limited placement options. Summarily, the player learns that it takes a combination of energy sources to achieve a balance between economic needs and environmental concerns.
Game Engine: Adobe Flash
Operating System: Windows
Platform: Personal computer
Special Hardware: None