Designers at Melbourne’s RMIT University have come up with a game called Cart-Load-o-Fun that is meant to be played together by two riders on a train, tram or bus. Similar to Pac-Man, the game requires the two players to “work together to move a dot around on a screen, picking up gems and avoiding enemies….One player moves the dot left and right, the other up and down.” They move the dot by using specially-equipped overhead handholds, which made the game popular with a participating tram company because it helped encourage safety. As for the commuters themselves, team member Floyd Mueller said they found the game “amusing.”
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
What’s the Big Idea?
Commuter games like Cart-Load-o-Fun and Chromaroma — a game being developed that will let players collect points for traveling through certain London Underground stations — could potentially change customers’ relationship with their daily journeys and their fellow travelers. “Games…make people perceive that their journey goes faster,” says Mueller. Also, having to work with or compete against another player brings gaming into the public space, as in the days of video arcades. Back then, says team member Chad Toprak, “[p]eople would gather [to play games] and a community would build up.”