Saturday, September 02, 2006

Homeless Plight In Serious Game

Serious Games Challenging Us To Play A Better Future

A new report from the Columbia Daily Tribune has detailed a new serious game titled Homeless: It’s No Game, which places players in the role of a homeless person for 24 hours.

The game was developed by Terry Lavender, a 49-year old Simon Fraser University graduate student, as part of his studies on creating social advocacy video games.

Utilizing relatively simple graphics and gameplay, the game challenges players to take control of a homeless woman in Vancouver and survive for 24 hours, or 12 minutes real time.

The ultimate goal, according to the report, is to achieve a self-esteem level of 25, a number that is constantly decreasing based on environmental factors such as hunger, reckless drivers, bladder needs, and dogs.

"Hopefully,” noted Lavender, “I’m helping to dispel some of the myths about homelessness and why people are living out on the street."

Lana Jacobs, one of the directors of Columbia’s St. Francis community, echoed some of Lavender's hope for his project, noting that, "Maybe it could help since kids are so tuned into them. It might be a first step for them."