New Yorkers Become Subway Rats in Large-Scale Outdoor Game Created by Designers from ESI Design

Chris Niederer and Debra Everett-Lane’s "Revenge of the Third Rail" among ten winners of FIGMENT NYC’s Dream Bigger competition; Game debuts on Governors Island, June 3-4

New York, NY (May 31, 2017) – New Yorkers will see the world through Pizza Rat’s beady little eyes this weekend when “Revenge of the Third Rail,” a large-scale, outdoor game created by two designers from the acclaimed experience design firm ESI Design. The game will debut at  FIGMENT NYC on Governors Island this weekend, June 3-4, 2017.

The team of Chris Niederer, Senior Designer, Physical Design at ESI Design, and Debra Everett-Lane, Director of Content & Activity Design at ESI Design, was named one of ten winners in the Dream Bigger competition from FIGMENT NYC, the annual participatory arts festival held on Governors Island. The competition challenged designers and artists to invent art experiences that are highly interactive, involve a large group, are visually stunning, and have a provocative concept. Each winner was awarded a $1,000 grant to further develop their project.

“Revenge of the Third Rail” invites New Yorkers to identify with some of the city’s most despised denizens: the rats crawling around the subway system. Each player climbs into a small cart built to resemble the front half of one of a rat, with their hands inserted into the front feet while their own feet propel the cart forward. The players race to collect prop morsels like pizza slices and doughnuts, while dodging obstacles like lost cellphones and keys – all while avoiding the subway train barreling down the tracks.

The game accommodates up to four players at a time (two rats and two people manning the subway car) and lasts about five minutes, allowing more than 50 people to play per hour. Players waiting on line participate by tossing the prop obstacles and morsels onto the tracks to entice or distract the racers, and stomping their feet as the train pulls into the station.

“Revenge of the Third Rail” is supported by ESI Design, where Niederer and Everett-Lane are part of the team of multidisciplinary designers who have helped cement the firm’s status as a leader in the creation of live-action, multi-player games that drive social engagement. ESI Design has recently created gaming projects for clients ranging from The Edward M. Kennedy Institute, where up to 100 people take on the roles of U.S. Senators to debate, negotiate, and vote on legislation, to Comcast’s STUDIO XFINITY flagship store in Chicago, where groups of customers play multiplayer games on giant screens, to its longtime partnership with New York City’s Come Out & Play Family Day  which Everett-Lane co-founded. The company incubated ESC Games, a proprietary video game platform launched in 2016 that allows dozens of players to compete in casual games and short eSports-style competitions in the same venue.

“ESI Design believes that play is one of the most powerful ways to engage large groups of adults and children in discovery, exploration, and learning,” said Everett-Lane. “We are thrilled that FIGMENT NYC is supporting our vision to develop Revenge of the Third Rail and we could not think of a better place to unveil it than at one of the world’s best showcases for participatory and interactive art and design.”

FIGMENT has been named the Best Art Festival in New York by the Village Voice, while the BBC raved, “If FIGMENT were a country, it would be the happiest in the world – and I would apply for citizenship immediately.”

FIGMENT NYC will take place on Governors Island in New York City on Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th from 10am to 5pm. The event is free and open to the public. “Revenge of the Third Rail” be located in the Colonels Row area of Governor’s Island. For complete event details, please visit

“Revenge of the Third Rail” will return to Governors Island for Come Out & Play Family Day on Sunday, July 22nd from 11am to 4pm.




Chris Niederer

Chris is a multidisciplinary designer, comfortable working in architecture, graphic design, industrial design, production management and fabrication. He began his architectural career working in high-end residential design. Chris easily transitions from architecture to experience design. He has also worked on large-scale museum exhibits. Chris graduated with a degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He is an active creator, building

custom furniture, housewares and outdoor installations. The flexible and cross-disciplinary approach to his practice is employed daily at ESI Design where he works with writers, graphic designers, strategist and fellow physical designers. His current ESI projects are large-scale digital media projects for Beacon Capital Partners, where content design and physical design come together.

Debra Everett-Lane

With one foot in the design world (currently as Director of Content & Activity Design at ESI Design) and the other in the education world (with a PhD in history of science from Columbia University), Debra has extensive experience creating games, exhibits, activities, and programs that engage adults and children alike, and that make them curious about the world around them. She works with a wide variety of cultural, educational, and corporate clients, creating experiences across multiple platforms in collaboration with designers from multiple disciplines, including graphic design, media design, software design, game design, and physical design.

Debra is also the co-­founder and lead designer of Come Out & Play Family Day, an offshoot of the larger COAP festival that attracts more than 1,000 children and adults annually.



ESI Design has been a pioneer in experience design and audience engagement since its founding by Edwin Schlossberg in 1977. The firm specializes in imagining and creating immersive and interactive environments that help brands, corporations and cultural institutions engage with audiences and customers in innovative, more meaningful ways. A New York-based, multidisciplinary firm, ESI Design has created memorable experiences, exhibits, and environments for such clients as PNC Financial Services Group, Best Buy, Barclays, Staples, AT&T, Comcast, The Edward M. Kennedy Institute, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., and Beacon Capital Partners. Connect with ESI Design: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Vimeo, and Instagram. (



Jenny Chang,
Corey Nord,
PKPR, 212.627.8098
Images available on request.


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