The political supports based on the long-term vision is essential to develop the sustainable energy systems. While the gaming appears to be one of the methods to discuss such future issues of social systems, it has not been utilized in the field of energy systems research. This study interdisciplinarily reviews the earlier studies in the fields of dynamic optimization model, game theory, social psychological experiments, and gaming to clarify the advantages of gaming against existing research methods. The review especially focuses on the comparison with the dynamic optimizations models which are often utilized in the field of energy. The results of review show that the gaming can represent a social system as a cluster of agents whose subjective realities are different from each other. This characteristic of gaming is useful to clarify the reason why undesirable future paths are selected under such pluralistic realities, and to discuss how to aim for the more desirable future paths. These advantages of gaming are opposite to these of dynamic optimization model that shows the ideal path to achieve the given political target with minimum cost. Therefore, the gaming is expected to contribute to policy planning in the unique way.
The author has designed and performed a gaming for interdisciplinary energy system education. This study systematically assesses the learning effects of the gaming by analyzing the contents of reports from 90 students. By the assessment, the achievement level of learning targets, quantity and quality of active learning by students, and required improvements for the higher achievements are clarified. The learning targets of the gaming are to cultivate “the perspective to construct the energy system that accommodates the requests from society by technology selection” and “the ability and attitude to form consensus by getting over the difference in standpoints and values.” The 87% of students achieved at least one of two learning targets, and one-third of students achieved both of the targets. Further, a variety of learning beyond the contents prepared by the author were observed. These results suggest that the empirical learning by gaming is effective as a method for interdisciplinary energy system education, and can support the active learning of students. Further, the detailed analysis of learning effects is clarified to be useful to improve the debriefing of the gaming.