Public Transportation Gets Gamified

I’m a New Yorker, which means two things: I am constantly surrounded by people and I get everywhere I need to go via public transportation. When I am not reading on the subway, I generally spend my time people watching, listening to music, or staring blankly at the underground tunnels. Despite all of these options, I am always looking for better ways to entertain myself. Which is why I was intrigued by a video I recently watched where public transportation in the Netherlands is given a gamified boost.

The project, called “Man-eater,” was thought up and implemented by Daniel Disselk√łen, a student at an art academy in the Netherlands. He grew tired of the repetitive scenery on his daily commutes and saw an opportunity to improve the trip for himself and fellow commuters. The concept is quite simple: Instructions are placed on the back of the seat in front of you and the only tool needed, the “Man-eater,” was left stuck to the window. The goal is to make the little character eat as many pedestrian heads as you can to advance levels (it’s not as violent as it sounds, trust me, just watch the video).

So, like many other aspects of our daily lives that are being gamified, it seems that public transportation suddenly has the opportunity to join the ranks. And while the subway proves to be a bit more difficult of a setting to eat pedestrian heads, there is always the option to collect your points and advance levels at each platform. Fellow travelers who think they are simply waiting to board the subway are actually a pawn in your game


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