Future Energy Networks and the Role of Interactive Gaming as Simulation
Danielle Barrios-O'Neill (University of Ulster) & Alan Hook (University of Ulster)
As energy systems integration deepens to support the development of a cleaner and more intelligent energy infrastructure, it will be increasingly important that consumers understand their relationship to energy systems--as well as taking more proactive roles in managing energy.
This paper foregrounds the importance of systems comprehension to engaging consumers in sustainable energy practices, arguing that interactive (online) games engage consumers while also demonstrating complex system dynamics through simulation.
Focusing on interrogations of engagement and social change posed by gaming theorists and designers, and using several flagship interactive games as points of reference, we discuss the elements of game space that make it capable of simulating complex systems and large-scale implications of energy decisions richly and effectively. We discuss the social, technological, and narrative elements of game play, pairing a theoretical investigation with a practical exploration of how energy-related games can link with data in the real world. We give special attentiont o how energy games can dovetail with the emerging Internet of Things.
Our conclusions emphasise the importance of game simulation toward the longer-term goal of cultivating more complex patterns of interaction and cultural analysis around energy use; this is based on the assertion that energy, a social resource, must be managed in ways that are equally social.