Trash Tycoon: Gamifying Recycling

Games have great potential to educate people and encourage them to solve large-scale social problems. An obvious example was World Without Oil, which required players to work together on simple, practical ways to adapt to a world without oil. The value of the game was to get players to apply collective intelligence and imagination to develop realistic, alternative solutions to dependence on oil.

More recently less-ambitious Facebook games like Trash Tycoon are trying to educate and change people’s behaviours in relation to reducing waste and recycling. Players have to clean their city by collecting piles of litter, create fertilizer, learn what can be composted and what can be upcycled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is interesting is that Trash Tycoon is an initiative by TerraCycle, a fertilizer company that also produces products made from recycled materials. In order for TerraCycle to continue growing they need more people to recycle so Trash Tycoon enables them to increase awareness about both the environmental benefits and uses of recycled materials and expand awareness about TerraCycle.

It is not going to nudge people to make a holistic change in their recycling / waste management behaviour, but it will at least make people aware of how products can be used after we finish them. It will hopefully make us think before throwing things away, but stronger incentives are needed to solve waste problems.

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Zombies, Run! A Survival Workout

There are numerous exercise apps that incorporate game elements but Zombies, Run! outdoes all of them. It has already vastly exceeded its funding amount on Kickstarter. The aim is to:

“help rebuild civilisation after a zombie apocalypse. By going out and running in the real world, you can collect medicine, ammo, batteries, and spare parts that you can use to build up and expand your base – all while getting orders, clues, and story through your headphones.”

Definitely more exciting, engaging and well thought out than collecting badges and ascending levels of fitness! Click to watch a video about the app.