04/11/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Using Gaming to Engage People in Gov't?

Cityvillepic-300x209 Well, fun works, and maybe Dustin Haisler from Manor Labs has the right idea.

He speculates about two ways that might build on existing approaches to get people involved in


Let's say we built an online game that was as engaging as [Zynga's FarmVille game]],
but incorporated real governmental concepts in the process. Which
concepts are important to start with?

  • Taxation: Have the gamer adjust taxes but also have it tied to public opinion (similar to Sim City, but less complex).
  • Cost of Service: Have responding to police calls, water line breaks, etc., demonstrate a cost of service for government.

Or alternatively:

Building on [the Foursquare] model, each agency could allow citizens to "check-in"
at various city spots (Library, Fire Station, etc.) and learn more about
their community in a fun and engaging format. This could also help open
up the door for their participating in other crowdsourced programs like