Why we need a video game about homelessness

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The aim would be to show that there is a difference between homelessness in different situations and in different places.

Success doesn’t necessarily mean moving off the street to a home and finding a job for every character. This is not a success for me

To simulate selling the magazine, I would introduce you to five people walking by and then you can choose one of them to have a chat with.

This is a decision that we as a provider have to make all the time. Based on what they tell you, you can come back to them and that will decide if you will make a sale. It would work like a dialog tree that you see in other games.

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Time would keep running in the game as you went through your day-to-day life, but I wouldn’t make the days short – if you’re homeless, killing time is part of the problem.

This is where The Big Issue kept me alive – if I had sat around all day doing nothing, I would have gone absolutely insane. I would also like to include real events, for example, what would it be like to be homeless during unrest? Including the pandemic would also be great to show how it changed the lives of sellers.

Success doesn’t necessarily mean moving off the street to a home and finding a job for every character. That’s not a success for me and sometimes it’s about making life comfortable for yourself. Overall happiness would be the most important thing I would measure.

You would also have community points and street respect points to measure success. The community points would affect how the public reacts to you and whether people offer you compassion like a haircut or food.

While the street respect points would affect how other homeless people react to you. I would also measure comfort, warmth, and health, and charisma or belief stats to see how well you’re getting people to buy the magazine.

I want a game where adults can understand what it’s really like on the street so I can’t shy away from the violence out there. Strength and fighting would have to be two of the characteristics of the game as you have to take care of yourself every now and then. I couldn’t ignore the begging in the game either. But I would make sure that it affects your happiness even if you are successful.

I want people to realize that just sitting there is soul-breaking. On the other hand, if you’re selling The Big Issue and people keep showing up and buying them, you don’t feel that way.

I would wish there was a cost of street respect for an addiction – it would make the game harder because addiction makes life harder

As for showing addiction, I would like there to be a store where you can buy harmful things. I want you to be able to buy alcohol, for example, which will make you happier but make you hungry and affect other statistics.

I would wish that an addiction would cost a street respect – it would make the game more difficult because addiction makes life harder.

I’d like to have at least one character for whom the real challenge is getting into the house. It would be like the same game but a bit like The Sims where you need to worry about keeping your home tidy, finding a job, and tackling the challenges of indoor living. I experienced that during the pandemic.

I want there to be little mini-games so it is really fun. For example, I want street music or light music where you hit the right key at the right time to play a song like Guitar hero, for example. Or mini-games to simulate jobs that you can pick up.

I would love to work on something like this in real life. If video game developers sit down with me and want to bring it to life, get in touch!

Dave Campion sells The Big Issue outside Ryder’s Bakery, Dawlish, South Devon


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