Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

July 13, 2009 -

In a remarkable game-based social experiment, Robin Burkinshaw is using The Sims 3 to model a two-person homeless family.

The U.K.-based game design student tracks the virtual lives of the father-daughter pair via his Alice and Kev blog:

I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any job promotions or easy cash routes. It’s based on the old ‘poverty challenge’ idea from The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3’s living neighborhood features.

New American Media has more:

Kev is an insane, middle-aged man with a bad temper, who hates children. He often behaves inappropriately around others... His daughter, Alice, is a teenager who is constantly exhausted from school, the part-time job she holds, and the cold hard bench she sleeps on at night. And because she gets most of her meals at school, she becomes worried every time the weekend rolls around. You will usually find Alice desperately trying to find a bed to sleep in...

GP: It's fantastic to see someone addressing a real issue in a meaningful way via off-the-shelf game tech...


Comments

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

I concur with DarkSaber--there is nothing meaningful about this. And let's be real--the Sims has no capacity to compute or offer representations of the social and economic conditions that cause homelessness--many of these individuals don't have the opportunity to reject the upward mobility of "promotions" and "easy money". Postmodern laziness to assume the simulations can even touch on lived realities.

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

I read the story, it's very touching and heart felt. I hope this girl can turn her life around.

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

I simulate the grief of the families of burn victims every day by spawning Sims in closed rooms with a lot of wooden furniture and a fireplace to play with

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

I found that strangely fascinating, but then, I always enjoyed the 'Sims 2 - House of Evil' experiment they did on the SA Forums as well. It's more, I think, a testament to the excellent writing of the blogger than anything else.

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

While I did not have a serious pupose, I did something similar in the first Sims Game. When they released the update that gave you a completley empty neighborhood, I went through and started creating an oddball group of people living in the neighborhood.

One of my characters was a man named Ugly Bum. He was fat, bald and wore a stained wife beater, boxer shorts and penny loafers. He lived in a barren lot with nothing but a shack in it. This shack was big enough to have a pay phone, a bail of hay to sit and sleep on and an outhouse in side.

I put all his personality points on his out going and friendly stats. Completely if ignoring his cleanliness traits.

He was a blast. Visiting other people in the neighborhood making messes in their houses and trying to be their friends.

Other people in the neighborhood consisted of a family of crooks who lived in a prison style home, an incredibly rich family, a man who lived in a jungle style home with all the tiki stuff and one normal guy that I played.

I think I might have had a house full of girls so that my guy would have some prospects for a wife, but it has been so long since I have played it.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

Now to just wait until claims that his is trivializing the plight of homeless people.

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

I thought I'd already done that.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

I'd hardly call this 'meaningful'.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

for any sims 3 fan, this is very old news. After the game went live, this was one of the first ever stories linked to from the sims 3 game launcher.

 
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Andrew EisenOh, may as well. Zip, I challenge you to cite three specific examples from the TvW videos (use direct quotes and time stamps) and explain how/why they ring hollow or are over exaggerated.08/29/2014 - 11:56am
Andrew EisenZip - Bullies on both sides? What both sides? And of course bullies are worse than people who aren't bullies.08/29/2014 - 11:23am
Neeneko(2) yes, male tropes also have problems and gender studies looks at those too. But this highlights a privilage problem, the idea that if male issues are not brought up too female issues should not be discussed.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
Neeneko@ZippyDSMlee - jumping back (1) one can acknowledge systemic problems without requiring every male be a Neanderthal.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
MaskedPixelanteI don't like the new 3DS, mostly because it means there's a good chance future 3DS games won't be compatible with the current models.08/29/2014 - 9:30am
ConsterI don't get why Amazon decided to buy this "Twitch" fellow, really. It took him ages to beat Pokemon.08/29/2014 - 8:31am
ZippyDSMleeIt goes without saying that we need to et rid of the bullies on both sides that are far worse than Sarkeesian or Quin will ever be.08/29/2014 - 8:24am
ZippyDSMleeI'm talking more about the genreal movement and how silly it is, as for Sarkeesian half of what she is says rings hollw while the other half tend to be over exsagerated.08/29/2014 - 8:22am
Avalongod@Papa, agreed. I think people are reluctant to get involved if they're not the target. But I think we need to take responsibility as a community to confront harassing behavior, whether on gender or race.08/29/2014 - 7:23am
E. Zachary KnightSo Nintendo has given gamers what they want and have fractured the 3DS user base at the same time. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224476/Nintendo_reveals_the_New_Nintendo_3DS.php08/29/2014 - 7:12am
Papa MidnightI could say the same about race. I certainly enjoyed being on the receiving end of this while playing StarCraft II this past week: http://i.imgur.com/mIZA1QB.png (and this is actually mild compared to what I usually see). Report players? What a joke...08/29/2014 - 12:29am
AvalongodWhether you approve of Sarkeesian's view or not, no woman deserves to be the target of that kind of harassment and it won't stop until men tell each other it's not appropriate under any circumstance.08/28/2014 - 8:44pm
AvalongodI'm guessing the twitter account was a troll, but come on, I'm sorry, it's just disgusting someone is saying those things to Sarkeesian whether serious or a joke.08/28/2014 - 8:43pm
ZippyDSMleesocial movement that is bringing most of these issue to the spot light to be nothing but trend mongering white knighting bullies who are not much better than the hateful moronic bullies on the other side.08/28/2014 - 5:20pm
ZippyDSMleereflects the world we live in while the rest is the worst stuff that should be focused on. Leaving whats reflected in the same boat as everything else that's exaggerated and skewed by media/fiction and happliy consumed by current society. I find the socia08/28/2014 - 5:20pm
ZippyDSMleemales live off the power fantasy but once you realize as a male you will never reach what fiction or media calls perfect it demoralizes you just the same. And I would not call female negative stereotypes rampant and out of control not when 70-80% of it re08/28/2014 - 5:19pm
ZippyDSMleeNot saying that there is not a difference in the treatment of males and females in media, but males are begin painted as near perfect superhumans with cliched flaws it dose as much damage to the psyche as how females are treated. Sure you could claim that08/28/2014 - 5:19pm
ZippyDSMleeNeeneko:As I said if you do not 100% belive it then you are a Neanderthal. Theres more gray to everything than black and white.08/28/2014 - 1:27pm
NeenekoMeh, the "PCism" is just trotted out when people do not know their place and dare to complain about things the speakers think are fine. How dare people complain about how they are treated/portrayed, it is not like it bother us, our feelings matter!08/28/2014 - 1:13pm
ZippyDSMleeNeeneko I do not think its against feminism but rather against PCisim’s and that most things are offensive since if you do not believe that you are a Neanderthal that beats women,ect..08/28/2014 - 12:48pm
 

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