Video games have had data visualizations built into them for a long time. They are there to provide the players with information about what is going on in the game, or post-game statistics. In Roller Coaster Tycoon for example, the data visualizations helped players make informed decisions about roller coaster design, or track park expenditures and balance their budget. This approach helps players to get better at the game and provides some interesting interfaces for players to explore. Digital Dreams has taken a different approach to integrating data visualizations with Metrico. They have built a game set entirely in an infographic world. The puzzle platformer looks a little bit like what an infographic designer’s dreams (or maybe nightmares) must look like when they have an impending deadline. The game is based on a simple principle: player movements can also cause changes in the game level. For example, jumping multiple times can cause a platform to extend, or changing x position can cause a wall to grow taller. All of this occurs in a environment that looks like the charts in an infographic, so the data going into the charts comes from the player’s actions. Metrico looks like lots of fun, unfortunately it is exclusive to the PS Vita, Sony’s floundering handheld platform. The game’s mechanics are interesting, and the levels are beautiful so we hope Digital Dreams gets an opportunity to bring a version of the game to other more widespread platforms. Drew Skau is Visualization Architect at Visually and a PhD Computer Science Visualization student at UNCC with an undergraduate degree in Architecture. You can follow him on Twitter @SeeingStructure
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