The Australian Bureau of Statistics was looking for ways to get people more engaged with Census data to help them understand why the data matters and how it can help guide planning and policy decisions. But most people don't get a chance to make those kind of decisions. To them, the Census data can just seem like so many numbers. Instead of trying to tell Australians how much this data matters, our goal was to create an accessible and engaging way they could use that data for themselves. We created a mobile game that lets people take charge of their actual suburb - using the real Census data from their town.

Launch the campaign
Published
July 2013
Topics

The Story

The Australian Bureau of Statistics was looking for ways to get people more engaged with Census data to help them understand why the data matters and how it can help guide planning and policy decisions. But most people don't get a chance to make those kind of decisions. To them, the Census data can just seem like so many numbers. Instead of trying to tell Australians how much this data matters, our goal was to create an accessible and engaging way they could use that data for themselves. We created a mobile game that lets people take charge of their actual suburb - using the real Census data from their town.

We took the data from every postal area in Australia and turned it into a mobile game. Run That Town gives each player the ability to nominate any Australian town and take over as its virtual ruler. Players have to decide which local projects to approve and which to reject – with the real Census data of their town dictating how their population reacts. To win, players need to maintain their popularity, making Census data core to the gameplay and giving players the chance to use the data themselves.

The Technology

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    Social

    Twitter

    Facebook

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    Video

    YouTube

The Results

In just two months, this game has turned more than 60,000 Australians into data fans, actively playing with and talking about the statistics of their local area. The fact that a government department has chosen such an innovative way to engage everyday Australians has become a story in its own right, with Run That Town featured on news, entertainment and gaming sites. It’s also received hugely positive game reviews, with some suggesting that it’s as good as – or better than – commercial titles.

60,143

app downloads to date

300+

actionable player projects

150k+

words of customized copy

Launch Date April 30, 2013