Equality Street Update

We’re making good progress with our game. We have figured out all of the character movements and put in the four characters we will have for our demo. There will be a menu first describing that it is the player’s objective to get the four roommates home safely by crossing the road. When a character makes it across, we have figured out in GameMaker how to have it automatically go to a next room so the player continues to play and will play all four players consecutively.

The order of the characters is easiest to hardest (white male to black female). We decided not to let the player decide which player to choose first because of this. When a character gets hit by a car, another screen will open so the player can see what happened. (E.g. When a black male gets hit by a cop car, the screen will say “You have been arrested for jaywalking!” and show a man getting arrested.)

What we need to do next:

We have temporary sprites and backgrounds put into place in the game so far. One of our group members is a skilled artist and has drawn out all the backgrounds and characters in pixelated form. The game has been sent to him and he will replace all the temporary sprites and backgrounds. After that, it will just be a lot of fine tuning, ensuring that we have meticulously made the correct movements, etc. in GameMaker. The main issue we are dealing with is completely figuring out how to make the cuts to the images that will pop up when a character hits a car, and then have it go right back to the game where the player starts over.


Pac-Man (Om Nom Nom)

We chose to mod Pac-Man around the issue of economic inequality/equality with a focus on homelessness, poverty, and right to housing. Pac-Man represents a kind of philanthropist/non-profit employee working to gain government housing for people who are struggling with rent. He has a group of four people, who are the ghosts, who will soon be evicted from their homes because the rent has become too high. The goal of our game is to demonstrate how difficult it is to provide impoverished people with appropriate housing because government funds are insufficient.

In our mod, Pac-Man is the good guy trying to save the ghosts, who are the people about to be evicted from their homes. The goal of the game is to provide these people with the resources necessary to get back into their homes or move into cheaper housing. The dots that Pac-Man eats are now dollar bills, representing the funding needed. There is only one big dot that is now a big bag of money, which represents government housing/funding. If Pac-Man can reach this big bag of money, he can more easily save a person (ghost). The catch is that there is only bag of money, and it constantly moves around the map, almost as if it is trying to escape Pac-Man. This illustrates the difficulties in receiving government funding in the form of cheap housing because there is not enough of it available. If Pac-Man does manage to snatch up this bag of money, a timer with 15 seconds will appear above the map. He will have this allotted time to go and get a person (ghost), which has turned blue. If he can get one or more ghosts, they will be put into the box in the middle of the map, meaning they have received housing and will not be homeless. The box is the best place to be for the ghost and after they have go in they do not come out. Also, our game is designed that the when the ghost gets into the box, an image of a human replaces the ghost’s image. This is a metaphor depicting the societal norm to view homeless people as invisible. Once a person has a place of residence, it is much easier to become a part of society.

Most likely Pac-Man will not be able to reach a bag of money, so the goal will be to get all of the dots, which will be transformed into dollar bills. This is money collected on one’s own without the help of the government. Pac-Man must collect all of the dots on the map, which has become larger. There is a five-minute timer for the entire game on the top of the page. Pac-Man must house all four ghosts in those five minutes or the game is over and the ghosts fade away.

Our proposed solution to this housing problem is to have more big dots on the map that do not move. In real world terms, this means that there needs to be more government housing available for those struggling to make end’s meet. 

– Laura Vogel