5 games in play at agencies

The public sector is finding gamification to be an effective way to educate the public, train employees and encourage innovation. Here are five examples.

Money Smart Game Board

The FDIC and Dynamics Research Corporation partnered to create the Money Smart Computer Game, which teaches low- to moderate-income people how to manage their finances. It awards points and certificates to winners. It drew more than 40,000 players in the first six months, and could be expanded into other languages to reach people in targeted communities. Originally a Web-only game, it’s now available on CD-ROM for people without Internet access.

Money Smart Computer Game

ReGenesis

This trailer is designed to lure people into NOAA’s ambitious ReGenesis game, in which players are sent back in time (to the future) in order to prevent an environmental disaster. The game is set in the year 2100, and players must time travel back to the year 2017 in order to prevent or eliminate the environmental damage caused by “Hurricane Rita.” Players, acting on behalf of NOAA (and operating anonymously, since no one can know of the interference from the future) arrive shortly after the hurricane, get to try different strategies, and then go forward in time to see how it all plays out. It's designed to teach about climate, satellite control and environmental damage mitigation strategies.

Hollowall2

This is a virtual recreation of NOAA's research vessel, the Okeanos Explorer, being shared using a Holowall, an interactive display that lets users interact without any special devices. The screen is touch-sensitive, allowing either user — locally or at the remote location — to interact with the boat, thus creating a unique collaboration and gaming environment. The Okeanos recently returned from mapping the western North Atlantic Ocean as part of its annual shakedown at the beginning of its field season.

Holowall virtual recreation of NOAA research vessel the Okeanos Explorer

Alien

An example of a government game in the educational field, this NOAA title is still in development. In it, aliens seek refuge on Earth in exchange for sharing their advanced technology after expending their own planet's resources. This technology allows the player to travel into possible future scenarios to see the impact of climate change and their decisions based on the latest real data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

NOAA alien game still in development

NASA Moonbase Alpha

A 3D game with both single- and multiplayer options, Moonbase Alpha simulates lunar exploration and is especially designed for young people interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines. In the game, set in the year 2032, a meteor strike damages an outpost near the moon's South Pole, and the player direct the research team to repair the outpost and save 12 years of research. The multiplayer version lets up to six players work together. You have a variety of tools at hand, including robotic units, hand tools and the lunar rover.

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