WASHINGTON (March 18, 2013)—Congratulations, you’ve just been elected mayor of your own city. It is now your job to build the cleanest, most ecologically progressive town you can, but to do that you will need to decide what actions you need to take to move your town forward.
Now, players can experience the fun and challenges that come with running their own communities on Plan It Green: The Big Switch (planitgreenlive.com), a new, free-to-play online gaming experience that allows players to design their own town and build it into the greenest, most energy-efficient metropolis in the world.
Plan It Green, developed by Wyse Games, was released today by National Geographic, GE and the Center of Science, a national network of leading science centers. The game is a safe, Web browser-based, casual gaming environment that challenges players of all ages to test their design skills by building and customizing their own city. Players rack up points for eco-friendliness, energy production and overall citizen happiness. They can also compete with their friends and other “mayors” for the highest city rating and participate in individual or group quests to earn rewards.
“Students learn at home and through school how important recycling and eco-friendly habits are to their environment, but Plan It Green takes these lessons a step further,” said Chris Mate, vice president of Games for National Geographic. “Through gameplay that is smart, fun and intuitive, players discover what it takes to build and run a community. By creating more energy-efficient neighborhoods, they reduce their town’s impact on its environment and create happier, stronger communities. In doing so, they can associate the choices they make on Plan It Green with choices they or their own communities make in their everyday lives.”
New Energy Technologies and a Sustainable Future
When players visit planitgreenlive.com, they begin building their own city and earning credits to build houses, businesses, energy stations and community resources like parks, bike paths, organic farms and wildlife preserves. Players advance through game levels by creating a diverse power portfolio and improving their town’s energy efficiency by implementing smart-energy technologies.
Throughout the game, players are introduced to new energy technologies that are shaping our energy future — flex technology turbines that can improve the reliability of networks tied to wind and solar; biomass generation plants converting waste to electricity; and waste-heat capture technology in power plants to improve efficiency, to name just a few.
“At GE, our engineers and technologists are working each day to improve the efficiency and value of our nation’s energy infrastructure,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water. “In Plan It Green, we wanted to create a way for energy consumers, particularly young people, to better understand our energy system and learn what they can do to help create strong, thriving communities. Today’s young people will be tomorrow’s engineers, utility executives and energy consumers. We have a responsibility to help them create our best energy future.”
As game play advances, players can form a circle of in-game friends to create partnerships with neighboring communities and participate in group quests that enhance the multi-player aspect of the game. Achievements and continuous play help players earn credits to beautify and improve the existing infrastructure of their city and expand their city limits. Players can show off their trophies and share their achievements via leader boards and city rankings. Future updates will allow for geo-customization and enhanced interactivity.
Unique Partnership to Build Better Energy Understanding
The game is part of Connect! Transform the Future, a new national initiative to engage, enlighten and educate the nation’s youth in a conversation about the future of energy. Connect! is the result of a collaborative partnership between the Center for Science, GE and National Geographic that leverages their collective resources and expertise.
“The Center for Science brings together leading science centers from across the country and partners like GE and National Geographic to work collaboratively on programs that further the understanding of science and technology,” said Carol Valenta, chief scientific officer for the Saint Louis Science Center, a founding partner of the Center for Science. “Our first project is a youth initiative called Connect! Transform the Future, and what better way to launch it than with a game that does a terrific job of popularizing serious environmental and energy-efficiency issues and presenting them to kids in an easy, bright and interesting way?”
The next Connect! Transform the Future projects include a short, digital 3-D film; teacher workshops; interactive educational materials and exhibits; and programs at local science centers. The educational outreach materials, also launching this month, are designed to engage teachers and inspire students to learn more about the future of energy.
Note: Gameplay images are available for download at http://press.nationalgeographic.com/downloads/games/plan_it_green
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About the Center for Science
The Center for Science is a national, collaborative network focused on integrating and leveraging all available resources to advance science and technology understanding. The Center for Science was launched by six visionary science centers: the Saint Louis Science Center (St. Louis); the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) (Columbus, Ohio); the Maryland Science Center (Baltimore); the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago); the Pacific Science Center (Seattle); and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (San Diego). Learn more at www.centerforscience.org.
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, television programs, films, music and radio, books, DVDs, maps, school publishing programs, exhibitions, live events, travel programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal published in English and 37 local-language editions, is read by more than 60 million people each month. The National Geographic Channel reaches 440 million households in 171 countries in 38 languages. National Geographic Digital Media receives more than 25 million visitors a month. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.