A parallel can be drawn between the commute in cities every day with a game. It is a challenge that involves navigating through traffic, hordes of people, the weather, on-going construction work, political rallies, and the everyday chaos of the city. We all choose, whether consciously or subconsciously, how to reach from one place to another- and many of these choices are results of habit, compulsion, convenience, etc. To reflect on what drives us to make the choices that we do and what these choices mean for the city that we live in, brings us one step closer to being more conscious and responsible citizens. One possible means to do this is to pack the experience of the city and the associated travel into one board game. If the game incorporates intrinsic motivation, derived from enjoyment of the activity of playing itself, instead of relying on sources of extrinsic motivation which are drawn from incentives of rewards- tangible or otherwise, then such a game could be incorporated into public participatory research methods. Karl Kapp, who works on the design, development, delivery and evaluation of instruction in corporate, educational, and governmental environments, identified three ways to design behaviour change into learning games- the freedom for players to do what they want in an open environment, the freedom to fail, and rapid feedback for success or failure, in the game.
The game, which will involve players having to choose what mode of transport(s) to use to complete a set of tasks. They will have to do so after they have been dealt a set of hands determining the circumstances under which they are to operate in, including but not limited to monetary resources, time, weather, blockages, etc. An example could be reaching a destination, such as a formal event or a party, in the least amount of time possible, while also maximising comfort during rush hour traffic. The net (negative or positive) effect that their choices sum up to, in terms of carbon emissions, will be tallied on the side, which will then determine the next set of hands dealt to them, framed in terms of climatic or policy interventions. At the end of the game, the player with the highest positive tally will be declared winner. In the case of a single player, a win or loss will be declared after comparing the net result with the score at the start of the game.
The objective of the game is twofold. One, for the game to represent the decisions of the players which make evident their social and cultural contexts, i.e., to inform and realise the players of the factors that affect the choices that they sometimes subconsciously make and the implications that these choices have in the real world. And two, to act as a feedback loop to identify the kinds of upgrades that they would like to see in the transport infrastructure that they use. The overall performance encompasses the choices that the players make to follow the path of their choice and the specific set of meanings that they wish to project. The game allows the developers and organisers to construct an analysis of values and subjectivities based on the performances that unfold over the play duration. The narrative that is created in games is abstracted from daily experiences, and later be recovered to deconstruct and analyse, to understand the challenges of commuting in their daily lives.