Dot’s Home is a mini-game that deals with a mighty theme: The Black Housing Crisis

When Evan Narcisse was approached by Rise Home Stories about making the game that would ultimately be Dot .’s homepage, he is familiar with the many ways that housing injustice affects the Black community in America.

Narcisse says he has direct experience with the purification process and knows about red border and flip the house and the ways in which those actions prioritize the well-being of certain individuals over the stability of a community. And he recalls when his mother became a naturalized citizen and was finally able to vote, and how participating in democracy was tied to home ownership.

But he admits there’s a lot he doesn’t know. What does he not know? deed in lieu of foreclosure is, or a community land fund.

“I didn’t know that you can even think about some of these issues when it comes to housing differently than you would have,” he said.

Is a part of Rise house story project, Dot’s Home belongs to a larger set of media outlets aimed at informing the public about housing policy and the social justice work connected to it, along with the podcast, a children’s book , an animated series and a number of other works. Narcisse, signed to write the story for Dot’s Home, tells of a woman who travels back in time to revisit historical moments in her family, witnessing intergenerational choices that lead to love. her current housing situation and found a big house on her own. – related decisions.

There, he found himself on a creative team almost entirely made up of people of color and visionaries, and the team leader was women. Many of them also had experiences related to Dot’s Home themes, which helped shape their vision of tying it to real stories. For example, someone with older family members used to be sharers before traveling to an urban center in the north. Another, Neil Young, lived in Detroit with his family, where his basement was constantly flooded – a plot point that was eventually used directly in Dot’s Home.

We really tried to tackle this from a place of no judgment.

Narcisse, Young and the team’s goal with Dot’s Home is an educational one. They wanted to tell a multi-generational story where the impact of decisions could be seen. But they also wanted something personal – even if Dot’s Home players haven’t experienced the specific problems its characters have, it’s easy enough to relate to the motivations. motivates them: a desire to protect and care for family and ultimately descendants, but also a desire for personal growth. Through Dot’s Home, they ask: What’s the strength when someone needs to move from a place they’ve lived for so long? How do ownership, family, money, community needs, and personal ambitions come into play?

“We really tried to tackle this from a place of no judgment,” says Narcisse. “Some people want to own their own home, but there may be forces in the game that put people in a difficult situation above others. And as a result of fighting against those forces, you may be more inclined to think individually than collectively. One of the things we discover in the game is Dot, her aunts, and other family members who have managed to thrive economically, that’s because of what their ancestors did. , the sacrifices they made. ”

Then, through that emotional connection, Narcisse aims to educate about the struggles of black home ownership and touch on the myriad issues associated with it.

“People have to make tough decisions to secure their own future, and any kind of sociocultural movement that is trying to create widespread change has to take into account what we are all about. ask our activists to make personal sacrifices from their lives,” he continued. “If you are helping to set up a protest or a march, or if you are calling on your elected representatives, or if you are doing any kind of work that is trying to create social change You are giving up something from your life. It could be the time, it could be the money, it could be the relationships, but there’s an element of sacrifice there, and some people won’t want to sacrifice those.”

Young agrees and points out that he’s been through this in his own life and career. Online, Young comes across Aerial_Knight. That’s the name he’s proudly given to one of his games: Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield, which has unfortunately led to abuse and hate mail. And that, he says, lies only in the world of video games – it doesn’t even touch the offline world of protests, organizations and social movements.

[Dot’s Home] highlights stories that others in the games industry can’t tell… They’ll have to pull people like us in to get our perspective.

“I grew up in Detroit all my life,” says Young. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen these people lose their homes. A friend of mine just lost her home because they auctioned people’s homes while they were still living in it. And then the buyers they charge the rent equal to the price they bought the house.

“And that’s the thing about [Dot’s Home]. It highlights some of the stories that other people in the gaming industry literally can’t tell because they don’t experience it, they don’t understand it. They’ll have to drag people like us in to get our perspective. And specifically this group, everyone is more or less on the same page and can really relate to all the things that are going on in this story. That’s what I think really makes this game so special.”

Narcisse is frank that with a smaller team and limited resources, Dot’s Home is a far cry from the big budget, AAA worlds, such as Assassin’s Creed. But, he said, not being Assassin’s Creed means they can do things a franchise would never do without fearing shareholders or corporations: they can tell a clear story is political.

“Yes, it’s about how politics and policies affect people’s lives,” he said. “And it’s about how these great unseen and unsuspecting forces affect people’s lives.”

However, Young wanted to be more direct.

“I think the game industry is trash with hiring Black people and putting these stories in the room when making games, even fantasy games,” he said. “Look at all the medieval games that abandoned the Negro. Personally, I think… the game industry needs to do it in a better way. And more and more things like this are created are just examples of things the gaming industry has hidden or missed just because they didn’t even let us in the conversation. Everyone likes it [the Dot’s Home team] and all these incredible people want to step up and try to make something happen. I think that is the future of the gaming industry.”

Rebekah Valentine is an IGN news reporter. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine. Dot’s Home is a mini-game that deals with a mighty theme: The Black Housing Crisis


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