Can games be used to explore complex issues?

Using game-like visualisation tools for serious issues can be extremely useful for policy makers

Serious games are games that are created with further purposes than merely entertainment. For NextGen a serious game was developed as a way of exploring how changes in the water sector can effect different industries, locally and regionally. 

The Serious Game aims at allowing participants to understand circular economy for water by observing interactions between different components in the urban water cycle and energy. Those interactions, in turn, effect on flows of water and energy, and material recovery. 

The initial prototype version of the Serious Game was developed for a virtual urban catchment area referred to as “Toy Town”. This town has six hundred thousand inhabitants and is related to the specific conditions of the demo cases Athens and Costa Brava.


Participants can range from the general public to policy makers, to water, energy, and environment specialists. By showing the effects that actions taken in this “Toy Town” relates to different sectors, it can be a very useful tool for decision-makers that work at different departments in a city (e.g. Water and Energy). That’s because those sectors not necessarily have enough information on each other, which hinders joint decisions. 

Watch our video to learn more:

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