An online simulation game giving players the chance to be a Birmingham's ‘flood tsar’ has been given Government blessing.
The game, Floodsim, was developed by computer game company PlayGen and puts the player in charge of all flood policy decisions.
As part of the game, many cities, including Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, have been digitally reworked to show how they would look if floods hit the area.
In the game, floods hit the UK each year and the players’ success is determined by how many people and how much of the economy is affected by flooding. The project has backing from Environment Minister Phil Woolas.
He said: “The floods of 2007 show just how serious flooding can be, and I am glad to see that this project has been developed to enable people to have a greater understanding of the risk of flooding.
"A number of decisions need to be taken when we look at managing the risk of flooding – including our annual spend on flood defences, where and how we build new houses, and the emergency response procedures we have in place for times of flood. This game gives the game player the opportunity to make informed decisions about all of these policy areas.”
Kam Memarzia, managing director of PlayGen, said: “Flooding is beginning to pose a bigger threat – and not just for people who live in traditional flood risk areas. We hope that showing certain areas ‘under water’ will make people more aware of the true threat in their own area. Through the website, we want people to respond to consultations, write to their local MP, find out their flood risk – and make their voice heard.”
The game has been funded by Norwich Union, the UK’s biggest insurer. Ben Welsh, public affairs director at Norwich Union, said: “Around 45,000 Norwich Union customers were affected by the floods in 2007. Our job is twofold; to put things right for our customers as quickly as possible, and secondly, work in partnership with the Government, agencies and the general public to ensure the UK is better prepared for the effects of flooding in future.”
* The game can be played online at www.floodsim.com.