Urban Ministries of Durham
Spent is a quick and easy web-based game that builds understanding about how low-wage jobs affect individuals and families.
The Urban Ministries of Durham created this web-based game to help people better understand what it is like to have a low-wage job, by challenging the player to live on $1,000/month. The game presents the player with a choice of three possible jobs, and then presents different choices and challenges each day of a 30-day month. The challenges are realistic and force the player to make difficult choices, including decisions about health care, which bills to pay, what food to buy, what to do when a car breaks down, what to do when you have a sick child, and other situations.
The game provides a brief and practical experience-based opportunity to understand the impact of low wages on individuals and families. It typically takes about 20-30 minutes, but can range from five to 45 minutes. The game ends when the player runs out of money, but even a brief demonstration could make an impact on an audience.
When to use
Use this game any time you want to raise awareness about how income can affect health and other outcomes. You could use it individually or with groups, and with staff or with community partners.
Things to consider
Playing this game requires an internet connection and computer with an up-to-date web browser. Using it with groups would require a projector and screen.
For many of the challenges presented in the game, the player is offered an ability to ask a friend for help meeting the need. Selecting this option prompts a window to open for the player to post something on Facebook or Twitter. This is optional. Players can write a comment and post to their Facebook page, or they can close the window and move on.
At the end, there is a request for a donation to the organization that created and hosts the game.
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