Building better architecture through video games like Block’hood

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Building better architecture through video games like Block’hood
© Jose Sanchez

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Building better architecture through video games like Block’hood
© Jose Sanchez

Block’hood invites users to build communities with local ecology in mind.

Architects are no strangers to technology. Even so, Jose Sanchez is a little less than traditional when it comes to his design tools.

Sanchez, an assistant professor at the USC School of Architecture, has earned acclaim for his architecture-inspired video game Block’hood.

Released for Windows and Mac in April, the indie title just won “best gameplay” at the 2016 Games for Change Festival. The annual event recognizes innovative games that explore health, education and social issues.

“It is really humbling to receive this award among incredible contenders like That Dragon, Cancer and Life Is Strange, Sanchez said. “The jury recognized how the mechanics of the game are fundamentally defining its ecological narrative. It means a lot for someone like me coming from architecture to be recognized outside my field, validating all the effort in attempting interdisciplinary research.”

The game lets players stack pieces and construct communities of their own design. Each piece has its own particular costs and effects: apartments, solar panels and shops all play different roles in the health of your building. Ecology is a key concern, with players being forced to think about greywater use and the effect of growth on the local ecology in a bid to maintain successful communities. […]

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