Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business



January 2011

Chevron/ Economist Group. Online game.

This is not so much a game as transparent fossil fuel propaganda. Although strangely addictive, 'Energyville' is eerie rather than enjoyable or informative.

Users are asked to plan for the energy needs of a small city using the normal sources: gas, petroleum, nuclear, wind, biofuels and so on. You place your desired power plants on the map until you have provided your city with enough energy, receiving educational tips on your way to 2030.

Unfortunately, the game is hardwired to show up the glories of petroleum, and includes 'information' direct from the Chevron ministry of truth, which seems to have designs on the player at every turn.

If you play the game enough times, you'll realise that your city has no choice but to have a petroleum plant to service its energy demands: hardly a reflection of reality. And there is no way a player can find enough wind, nuclear or solar power combined to meet energy needs in the game. This should not cause us concern, however, for an energy policy made up entirely of oil and gas comes out with a 'medium' environmental impact.

We are also told about the 'higher costs associated with renewable energies', and while there is an acceptance that fossil fuels 'may exacerbate global warming', the narrative conveniently includes a 'breakthrough in technology that alleviates fears over oil'.

This game, like many of its kind, is based on the 'simulation' genre as pioneered by Eidos's Sim City. It plays, however, remarkably like a fantasy.

Ben Hickman

Ben Hickman | Global | Energy


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