2014 Australian Mobile & App Awards

mobile, web, IoT, desktop, connected devices
design champion, best studio, best start-up & IoT
plus 20 specialist nomination categories

demand design, celebrate courage

PowerPlay [DRAFT]






Project Overview

The apocalypse has come. Elementals have ravaged towns, and humanity is pushed to the brink. However, in a small Western NSW town, a group have banded together to fight back.

Using a generator to power the town, they rebuild the city and fend off Elementals who love to sap their power. But in order to find more survivors, they need to be as energy efficient as possible.

PowerPlay is a fun game that gets young apprentices thinking about energy efficiency, and transforms this into positive behavioural change in their homes and workplaces.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator



Leon Young - Managing Director
Derek Proud – Senior Producer
James Sutton - Art Director
Marianne Elliott - Graphic Designer
Phil Douglas- Technical Director
Marcus Lam - Senior Developer
Cameron Baker - Game Developer & Game Designer
Glen Jeffreys - Game Design

Project Brief

Part town building, part shooter, and all fun – PowerPlay is a unique and engaging way to educate Australia’s low income youth in the topic of energy efficiency.

Players are tasked with rebuilding a rural town in Western NSW after the apocalypse, and must grow the city in the most energy efficient way possible. However, at night Elementals come to sap the town’s power and players must fend them off using energy weapons. If they don’t fend off the attack, the Elementals sap their energy and players are left with less resources for the next day.

Designed as part of the government’s Low Income Energy Efficiency Program, PowerPlay incorporates beautiful illustrations, challenging yet entertaining gameplay, social media and financial rewards outside of the game – all to motivate apprentices to be more energy efficient at work and at home.

PowerPlay was developed by 2and2 for Skillset, a Skills Development and Group Training Organisation based in Central NSW. As an educational game, PowerPlay fosters a strong peer network of apprentices and industry professionals who see energy efficiency as the rule, rather than the exception.

Project Need

Apprentices and Trainees are the lowest paid workers in Australia, with most first and second year apprentices across all vocations being paid below the Henderson Poverty Line – particularly in regional areas. While public messaging over the past 20 years about energy efficiency has consistently targeted young people, research shows most young people are not exhibiting energy efficient behaviours.

PowerPlay is the first of its kind in Australia: a game that takes a non-didactic social approach to overcome motivational barriers around a subject regarded as boring by the target group. Additionally, once the player understands the impact of different energy efficiency products, for example, after reaching Level 2, they are sent a voucher for those products at Enviroshop online.

PowerPlay applies Interactive Decision Theory (IDT), gamification and social media to take a fresh approach to educating and engaging young apprentices in the messages of energy efficiency. Rather than using adverts, events or traditional programs like Earth Hour, PowerPlay encourages players to make decisions in-game that could then translate to their energy consumption and decisions at home and at work.

The game also motivates and reinforces energy efficient behaviour outside of the game, combining financial incentives and peer recommendations to help overcome emotional barriers experienced by low income youth when thinking about energy efficiency. Players can submit their scores to Skillset to win energy efficient televisions and fridges.

In PowerPlay, energy efficiency benefits and rewards players both inside and outside the game.

User Experience

PowerPlay is created for Australian apprentices and trainees aged 16 to 25, who often lack motivation to engage with messages of energy efficiency. To overcome these motivational barriers, PowerPlay fuses fun gameplay, peer recommendations through social media, and financial incentives to create a compelling and rewarding user experience.

Operating on a day/night cycle, players begin at their home base and must uncover nearby tiles to find upgrades and locations for survivors to live. By scavenging tiles for upgrades like LED lights, gap sealers and insulation, players can make their town more energy efficient so they are prepared for the Elementals at night.

It’s crucial for PowerPlay to be challenging and fun for young apprentices, and this cycle is essential for user experience. As PowerPlay aims to change behaviour through IDT, the day cycle reinforces and rewards energy efficient behaviour. The arcade shooter at night provides players with a fast-paced and challenging experience to keep them engaged.

Another critical element of user experience is the integration of social media and prizes for those who play the game and get the highest score. Young apprentices are often disengaged with messages of energy efficiency, so prizes like fridges and televisions (all energy efficient, of course!) add more incentives for players to jump into the game. The social component is another huge part of engagement – not only do apprentices play PowerPlay, but they become part of a network of industry professionals who see energy efficiency as the rule.

Project Marketing

Created for young apprentices aged 16-25, PowerPlay will reach Australian youth in a number of different ways.

One of the core ways PowerPlay engages with these apprentices is through incentives. In order to motivate young apprentices to play, Skillset offered a $50 voucher to apprentices and trainees that signed up before the game launched, and is now offering monthly prizes for those who get the highest score in the game.

Another key way Skillset is marketing to these youth is through generating publicity for the game and its wider campaign. Skillset have already had articles published about PowerPlay on the Western Advocate, the ABC and the Central Western Daily, and will reach out to more media in coming months to continue to generate interest about PowerPlay.

Skillset also is promoting the game via their current networks using email updates in Mailchimp, a text campaign to all current trainees and apprentices, and asking all new apprentices and trainees who join Skillset to get involved in the program.

PowerPlay is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Project Privacy

All user data is stored on a discreet server which is only accessible by the development team and Skillset. User names are only captured upon direct input from the player and no individual data is captured without their consent.

This category relates to games including Action & Adventure, sport simulation, educational, board, card and dice developed for the mobile platform.
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