Today, Gotham Gazette unveils the second of its news games: The Budget Maze.
With challenges and a dash of humor, the game presents an entertaining way to educate New Yorkers about one of the eternal mysteries of policy and politics in the city: How the budget is determined. To make the topic engaging, we created three mazes. Players must navigate these labyrinths in a castle dungeon to try to win funding for a favored program or a tax cut. Each chamber presents a new challenge: How do you get information, who should you meet with, who holds the power?
We envision this game being used in schools, by community groups and by curious citizens. And as befits a news game, it’s timely. The mayor and City Council here are in the midst of budget negotiations now with an eye toward finishing a balanced budget by the end of June. And the U.S. attorney is investigating how the City Council has spent some of its earmarks — known as member items here. To provide more verisimilitude, players in our game face going to jail too.
Play it and let us know what you think.