October 12, 2008


Go green—that’s easier said than done. I often find myself wondering if I’m really making a difference. Sure I’ve changed my bulbs, adjusted the thermostat, an shortened my showers but there must be more green methods I can utilize. Naturally, I can pour over the internet looking for tips but I want something that goes beyond a simple 10-step improvement. I want something deep, but I also want it to be easy and fun to learn.

Until the release of Spore, this issue bothered me for quite sometime. As a gamer, Spore fascinated me and allowed me to reminisce back to the days of The Sims. While enveloped in my admiration, it dawned on me: what if I utilized core elements from The Sims to solve my green issue? Then the ideas flowed like Niagara.


To make your (carbon) Footprint as small as possible while maintaining your busy life


Exactly like The Sims with the following additions/exceptions:

   -Players setup their game to begin their life as it     currently is (apartment, married, kids, SUV, etc.)

   -There is no focus on talents/skills or relationships

   -Achieve small goals to reduce your footprint

Game Setup

The game uses an ICI (interactive conversational interface) to figure out who you are and what type of life you live and builds your starting point.


Your footprint is graphically represented on the right-hand side of the screen and looks similar to a thermometer. It's calculated by measuring your kilowatt hours, fuel consumed, products consumed/recycled, etc. The number can go as high as 10000 units (or higher) but the green meter only displays your current starting unit and goal unit so progress seems quick and less daunting.


The game evaluates where you are and makes suggestions on how to reduce your footprint beginning with the most significant and cost-effective solution. The reality is that going green is difficult and often involves initial investment. Not everyone can ride a bike to work, afford an $1100 washing machine, or buy a hybrid. Hopefully by setting small goals and achieving them virtually, good habits will permeate into the real word.

Copyright Nicholas Matthews, 2008

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