Rebuild a century’s worth of subway lines in mere minutes.
Worried about when Second Avenue will open? Want to build a Utica Avenue extension? In “Brand New Subway,” armchair planners can turn back to 1904 and map out an entirely new subway system from scratch. L train redundancy sounds pretty good about now — and the virtual solution to an L-pocalypse is just one click away.
The game pools Census Bureau and MTA data to estimate ridership and calculate a MetroCard fare. Each fantasy subway system is issued a letter grade based on affordability and accessibility. Users can also build off the current MTA system with current, future or vintage subway maps.
“I kind of hope the game evokes how transit effects communities and helps users figure out what’s their personal connection to the system,” said Jason Wright, an electrical engineer from Crown Heights, who launched the game this weekend.
Wright, 24, said he developed an interest in urban planning after growing up on a steady diet of “SimCity.” He divined his idea from other games like “Mini Metro” and projects — like the Brooklyn Queens Connector and the Regional Plan Association’s proposed Triboro RX — that aim to build connectivity between developing outer-boroughs.
“There’s an inherent fun in imaging this within the context of the real world,” said Wright, who added that he’ll continue tweaking the game with new features and data that will make ridership figures more accurate.
Brand New Subway was built as a submission to “The Power Broker” game design contest, which challenges developers to capture the spirit of Robert Caro’s masterful biography on Robert Moses and in video game and tabletop form. The best game will receive a $2,000 cash prize.
“Submissions will be judged on a number of dimensions including success in capturing the themes of The Power Broker in game form, ease of play, design and production quality and fun,” wrote competition creator Tim Hwang in a Medium post this March.
Submissions for the competition were due on July 29. A team of judges will now each game. Winners are expected to be announced in early September.