This “game” about homelessness, for Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) is an immersive online experience that challenges players to survive poverty and see first-hand that homelessness is just a simple shortfall away.
Even in the current economy, assumptions about poverty and homelessness abound. Beliefs like, “I’ll never be in that situation” or “If I were struggling, I’d figure out something,” are challenged. It requires players to work through a series of difficult challenges, that involve tough choices about work, housing and providing for a family, that show how everyday decisions can lead to unimagined consequences.
Players can actually survive a month with money left but are left emotionally “spent” because of decisions made that compromised family and integrity; or a player can try to make it to the end of the game but run out of money days before the month is over. In all instances, players are encouraged to share the game on social media pages where they can help raise awareness of homelessness and how UMD helps.
• The creative team of fourteen spent a year in total on the project: several months, between paying projects, developing the concept, challenges and game mechanics; and then a few more months designing and developing, around client work.
• Players can play multiple times with different outcomes, learning important facts about the condition of homelessness and the services that Urban Ministries of Durham provides. In any scenario, a player will have a new appreciation for how easy it can be to end up needing help.
// From our friends at Communication Arts