Real-life SimCity in New Mexico to become testing ground for new technologies that will power smart cities
A simulation video game can become a powerful innovation lab for new urban technologies, where researchers can test-drive every outlandish “what-if?” in a controlled environment. The Center for Innovation, Technology and Evaluation is launching a full-scale SimCity—a small, fully functioning ghost town equipped with the technology touted by futurists as the next generation of smart cities. Resembling a modest American town with a population of 35,000 spread over 15 miles, the virtual metropolis is sited on a desolate stretch of land in southern New Mexico.
In what appears to be an April Fools’ prank launched a day early, Google has added an eight-bit video game, ahem, Easter Egg feature to Google Maps. While browsing around the city of your choice, look for the Pacman box in the lower left-hand corner right next to the aerial photography button. Click it, and you’re transported into a dot-filled, ghost-infested city street grid in search of cherries. Take a look!
Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District’s giant LED screens.
In MoMA’s Applied Design exhibition, which opened over the weekend in The Phillip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries, celebrity curator Paola Antonelli brings us a diverse sampling of recent and contemporary design, from old school video games like Tetris and Pac-Man to 3D printed furniture and energy efficient medical equipment. As in last year’s Talk to Me exhibition, museum guests get the opportunity to interact with the objects on display, including playing the video games. While the connections between the different pieces may be tenuous and visitors may struggle to identify the relationship between Ido Bruno’s Earthquake Proof Table and The Sims, Applied Design allows viewer to see items that have been churning up quite a bit of hype around the blogosphere, such as Massoud Hassani’s wind-powered mine detonator, pairing them with modern relics from the MoMA archives, including drawings from Lebbeus Woods and Douglas Darden. While disjointed, Applied Design does afford a glimpse of the wide varieties of methods, technologies, and materials utilized by today’s design vanguard. The exhibition is on view through January 14, 2014.