Better driving with a click of the mouse – TicketTrap game helps drivers navigate

By Matthew Wolfe

If you’re like the rest of us, you probably don’t remember driver’s ed very well, or you’re at least hazy on some of the finer points of parking rules and regulations. But if you’re a driver, you have to park, and parking in Brooklyn is hard. You don’t want to get a ticket – so what do you do? Well, sacrifice a goat to the deity in charge of educational computer games, because the fun way to learn about parking regulation is here. TicketTrap, a new game that teaches people about what exactly all those signs mean and when you have to follow what direction. “The game is meant to educate people about parking regulations in cities,” said John Staniszewski, creator of TicketTrap. A Windsor Terrace native and teacher at P.S. 15, 71 Sullivan Street, Staniszewski runs the TimeMight Corpora-tion, a company that manufacturers a range of products that help people park more effectively, including a cell phone application that notifies you of parking schedules and a bag to cover broken meters. “As a native New Yorker, I’ve been living with parking regulations all my life,” said Staniszewski. “When you park, you can forget or you don’t know what the signs mean. New York kind of works against you.” Staniszewski, 42 and a father of two, has never made a game before, and said his newest invention has been a big struggle for him. “As a person just outsourcing most of the work, it’s been very difficult, like a one man show sort of thing,” said the creator. “It’s been such a huge challenge, but I’ve done it, despite people, switching servers and clearing databases.” In the game, players play different levels based on different boroughs of the city. Players are placed in a scenario in which you are given the date, the time and the parking signs visible on your street. Players pick from multiple choice answers and score points based on how many they get right. In a clever touch, a judge keeps track of your points. If you get up enough points, you can use a “Sweet Talk the Cop” card that will let you skip the question. “I tried to put an element of humor in the game,” said Staniszewski. The boroughs get harder as the player goes along. The sprawl of Staten Island is the easiest level, while free-space scarce Manhattan is the toughest. Brooklyn is level 3, making it the second hardest – fitting for a borough that encompasses both Downtown and Sunset Park. In the level’s screenshot, Staniszewski includes views of large towers as a nod to Brooklyn’s construction boom. Staniszewski sure didn’t skimp on the soundtrack either. The Queens level has some mighty horns and the snare drums on the Brooklyn level have a nice kick to them. “I just wanted to help people to deal with parking regulations,” he said. The demo version, an unfinished version which is available at www.foreverydrivereverywhere.com/tickettrap/Images/Game_big.html, still has some bugs that need to be worked out, but the final version should be available soon, for a small price. “It’ll be $9 or $19.99,” said Staniszewski. “Not more than $30.” The game designer said he would continue to improve the game and hopes that people will play it so they are not stung by a ticket. This may decrease city revenues, but certainly increase quality of life. “I’m not sure the city will like it,” said Staniszewski, “But education is a good thing.”

More from Around New York