Lobbying games – immersive serious games created by Teatro Rigodon and La Transplanisphère

Lobbying games – immersive serious games created by Teatro Rigodon and La Transplanisphère

Since May 2021, the European Integrity Games project is in a new phase of creating educational games. Teatro Rigodon (Italy) and La Transplanisphère (France) are working on the design of escape games and 3D games exploring the subject of Lobbying!

Summary of the project

This European project aims to question the notions of integrity, corruption and fraud in our societies, through the design of serious games. Seven topics are explored through these games: blockchain and money laundering, food chains, Frontex Files, e-governance, lobbying and wind turbines, integrity in public service and communication in health.

Each of these topics is explored through two types of innovative and free educational games:

Escapes games to be played in a collaborative group, accessible to all European citizens thanks to a turnkey kit that can be downloaded from the internet, 3D games to be played individually on a computer.

The project is supported by Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships and by the City of Paris as part of the Paris Europe 2021 Label.

Lobbying through the topic of wind turbines, current European issues

The aim of the Lobbying Games is to inform citizens about the different rules and mechanisms of lobbying, and their relationship with integrity and corruption. Lobbying is the act of an entity intervening with public officials to influence a public decision in order to serve particular interests, values or a cause. It is therefore a key issue in the democratic processes of our European societies.

To address this issue of lobbying, the topic of wind turbines was chosen because of its importance in the public debate, as it has divided many people, some of whom are very supportive of the idea and others who condemn it. These social and environmental issues have now taken on an important global dimension. They involve different positive and negative aspects, different actors and interests in the debate on the installation of wind turbines, but also mechanisms of influence and sometimes even corruption.

The issue of wind energy is also controversial in terms of its effects, which are seen by some as positive and others as negative. Very often, in speeches against the installation of wind turbines, political and economic interests are mentioned.

The Lobbying games aim to give an overview of this debate and its nuances through the lens of influence and lobbying mechanisms.

Through a course based on a fictitious scenario which is based on realistic situations, the player will have to make a decision. He will choose whether or not he is in favour of the installation of wind turbines in his village and will take a position based on true information. In the course of the game, the player will meet different characters with dialogues and will face lobbying situations. He can then choose the answers and make choices that will influence the rest of the game. There will also be hidden information to find in the form of clues, and puzzles to solve.

By offering an immersive experience in which the player becomes an actor in these issues, the partners hope to touch citizens on an emotional level and thus stimulate their interest and desire to learn more about the subject.

An immersive and educational scenario

The game takes place in a large hotel, in the context of a conference/congress dealing with the issue of wind turbines, which is part of the energy transition. The main character that the player will take on is a village mayor whose objective is to make a final decision on whether to install wind turbines in his area.

This mayor goes to the conference in the hotel. There he will meet many characters (wind turbine actors and stakeholders) and have to make a decision for his village, and then have this decision approved by all parties involved. He will be confronted with some lobbying mechanisms and may use others. He will have to search for information, discuss with the characters, solve puzzles and make decisive choices!

The player will go through several locations in the game. Firstly, the hotel lobby where the player (mayor) will “investigate” and collect information about the problems with the wind turbines. Then there will be the cocktail room where there are some characters with whom he will discuss and get an overview of the different lobbying mechanisms (legal, illegal, transparent, corrupt, ethically bad or good, etc.).

From there, in a private room with only the most influential parties, the player will have to defend his decision and make it succeed.

And finally, a press conference with a public speech will take place. Thus, the player will be one of the 7 mayors of the region who will say in public what he has decided. To do this, he will use the arguments and lobbying mechanisms of the different stages he has gone through. At the end of the game, the player will get a summary of all the lobbying mechanisms used and seen. He will discover the degree of transparency, integrity, corruption and ethics of his decisions and actions.

A collaborative process for the creation of two educational games

Transplanisphere and Teatro Rigodon are working together to write this script based on numerous documentary resources and expert consultations. Michele Ulizio, an Italian journalist, who works on the issues of wind turbine installation, provided a lot of information on the subject and examples of realistic situations. Transparency International France, the leading civil society organisation in the fight against corruption, was associated to provide expertise and documentary resources on the theme of lobbying.

Thanks to these contributions, the partners develop the scenario composed of educational information, scenes, clues and dialogues. Then an Italian programmer will create the 3D game with Unity 3D software. Then, an escape game to be played in groups will be created on the basis of the 3D game scenario.

A European workshop will be organized in March 2022 by Teatro Rigodon in Italy where the beta version of the game will be tested!



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