The game The Sims 3, released just a few days ago, includes two characters who are homeless, Kev and his daughter Alice.
Looking at the blog Alice and Kev of Robin Burkinshaw, a game designer in UK, having the game unfold centering on those two characters may only further instill the worst of stereotypes.
In this new version of the SIMS game, players give their characters traits. Burkinshaw has made Kev "hot-headed, mean-spirited, and inappropriate. He also dislikes children, and he’s insane. He’s basically the worst Dad in the world. He is a horrible human being, but he’s also amusing to watch." In other words, I think we can say, homelessness gets savaged.
In his welcoming blogpost, Burkinshaw writes,
I have attempted to tell my experiences with the minimum of embellishment. Everything I describe in here is something that happened in the game. What’s more, a surprising amount of the interesting things in this story were generated by just letting go and watching the Sims’ free will and personality traits take over.Following, my own synopsis of what has taken place in the story of Alice and Ken in the beginning of the Burkinshaw storyline:
- Kev meets another man in a park, says the man's mother is a llama. A fight breaks out when Kev tries to kiss the man to apologize.
- Kev dislikes children; blames young Alice for everything. Alice goes to sleep on the playground bench and ends up being taken in, briefly, by the Joy family.
- Kev, meantime, is sent by Burkenshaw to break other characters' hearts. Being insane he ends up dirty and without clothes and unsuccessful when he confronts a woman.
- Next day, Kev rummages in the trash instead of helping Alice with her homework. Alice, in need of food, goes to the Grampas' house and eats ice cream. The Grampas tell he she is being inappropriate. She goes to take a shower. The Grampas burst in on her while she's showering. She's embarrassed, but then goes to sleep in a good mood.
- Kev meets a new woman and behaves fully inappropriately.
- Suddenly, Alice is a teenager. She and Kev have a verbal fight.
- Ken mocks his daughter and threatens physical violence. Alice hates her father.
- Alice is now too old for her teddybear. No one loves her, but she is happy for a spell on the swings. She cries before going to sleep on a bench.
Thanks to blogger Joel John Roberts who alerted his readers, including me, to the new Sims characters with a blogpost, today, "Homelessness has Gone Virtual," in L A's Homeless blog.