Switching the Current

Thor Balkhed

Through so-called Megagames, the project "Switching the Current" aims to increase knowledge about how current design and transformation of the energy system affects the surrounding society, environment and climate.

Photo credit Thor Balkhed The project’s goal is to promote dialogue and interaction between actors responsible for the energy system and other parties that have dependencies on, or an interest in, the energy system. This will take place through so-called Megagames where 20 to 100 participants together deal with challenges related to energy systems, society, the environment and climate change.

The game itself will be designed so that the energy system must function in a satisfactory and long-term sustainable manner. This is implemented through a combination of board game and simulations of a geographical region where dependencies between energy systems, society, quality of life, environment and climate are reflected in a realistic way. The participants’ own interests and goals are reflected through their actions in the game, which are tested against the simulation that provides feedback to the participants. In the Megagame, players can either play a role that corresponds to the one they normally have, or play other actors to broaden their perspectives.

Photo credit Thor Balkhed The interaction that occurs between the participants will be evaluated. Long-term effects of participation in the mega-game will also be evaluated, such as attitudes and beliefs about the energy system in relation to society, environment and climate.

The project group is interdisciplinary and consists of cognitive scientists, linguists, computer scientists, educators, social scientists and experts in simulation and game development. Three universities participate in the project: Linköping University, University of Skövde and Jönköping University.

The project has been awarded 8,9 million SEK from the Swedish Energy Agency. It started in October 2021 and will end in December 2024. 

For more information on the use of megagames for social transformation and game design, please see the game design blog below and visit Games for social transformation and East Sweden Megagames on Facebook for local megagame events.

Photo credit Thor Balkhed

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Game design blog

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Hitting the wall: influence on the game and player agency

Don’t all players need to have a positive experience during the game for them to learn anything? This question was brought to light by the fate of the low-income population players during the Borlänge playtest (see previous blog post). The players on that team had expected to play a game about ‘the energy system’, and […]

Game design blog
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Game design blog
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Localising the game: reframing the question (and unwittingly inventing organised crime)

The team and I were excited to be invited to play Switching the Current in Borlänge, and as part of the preparations for this event we localised the game to the county of Dalarna, which lies far north of Östergötland, the setting of the first version of the game (as was the Climate Change Megagame). […]

Game design blog

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