How a ‘City Bus Manager’ Video Game Could Become an Advocacy Tool

A new video game releasing today will challenge players to successfully run a virtual version of their city’s bus network — and the developers behind it hope it can create a new generation of transit advocates, even as they acknowledge that the complex realities of a transportation network can’t be gamified.

On Nov. 10, developers at German video game company PeDePe and publisher Aerosoft released an early access edition of City Bus Manager, a tycoon-style game where players can build bus depots and stops, manage routes, and juggle the struggles of keeping a transit network running and riders happy.

In an interesting twist, though, the game allows its players to run virtual buses through a detailed map of a real city of their choice — and gives them a budget commensurate with that city’s size and modal share, unless they opt for an “easy” mode with fewer constraints on their finances.