October 30, 2012 Leave a comment
I saw someone post this game on twitter called “Spent” from Urban Ministries of Durham. I am not familar with the organization, but was deeply taken by the game. I played it twice, before deciding to share it here and let others also experience it for themselves. The first time I played it, I cashed out on day 8. Damn, I would be homeless. I know it is only a game, but it is very scary and eye opening, because it is real life for many folks and allows us to “experience” such an experience. It is one thing to read reports as I often do and I do deeply care about these issues, but a whole different ball game to put yourself in that situation. Even when you think you know, reality is you don’t know jack and this game just showed it to me.
Reminded me of the book Nickel and Dimed and how author Barbara Ehrenreich took on the role of a minimum wage worker. I encourage you to read that book if this subject is of interest to you, it’s short and very informative.
The game throws at you, real life situations (as also described in Nickel and Dimed), such as paying for health insurance, medications, or your child’s after school programs just to name a few. What was interesting is that I ran out of money by doing the “right thing”, such as paying for any loans, putting the kid in after school programs, or going to the doctor before it was too late. My money ran further when I skipped those things in order to buy food or pay rent/gas, however this choice led to my debt increasing, car being possessed, unhappy kid, and putting my health in danger. Either way, I couldn’t win.
Try it for yourself here and let me know how you did.