The gamification of big data is what Ellen Broud and the Open Data Institute are exploring with The Open Data Board Game Project.
Broud with her Australian brogue used her Saturday morning session at ODcamp to crowdsource ideas for what data could be used in the prospective board game, how, and, significantly, the wider benefits of using it.
The room was asked to feedback what types of open data would:
- help to establish some sort of utopia
- best fit the board game framework.
She used the example of energy efficiency, with prospective gamers using information to achieve greater savings. The game would highlight to non-data geeks how open data is a really important thing.
First, the group tried deciding what kind of game it would:
- Old school (as in actually on an board)
- Augmented reality.
It was mostly agreed that such a data-driven game would probably be more at home on a device, though they also stressed how they didn’t just want to make another Sim City.
The Complexity Crisis
Next question: complexity. The clever data types in the room have an expertise well beyond the gamers they’re pitching to. So how do you take that expertise and translate it? Do you try for a one-size fits all? Do you have different versions for different subjects?
Broud recalled her struggles learning to code using the hard-to-understand Ruby Warrior. The board game shouldn’t be like that. After some hemming and hawing, the game turned out like a crazy version of Sim City, but that’s not really a board game.
One audience closed the session by saying:
It should show that no data is bad. And that you should feel bad.