Shelter Bowl: Gaming in a Homeless Shelter

Shelter Bowl: Gaming in a Homeless Shelter

Gaming with those who have very little turned out to be a surprise for everyone.

Read Full Article

A wonderful article, thank you.

(Though I gotta say I saw the hustle coming.:)

I love this. It's always nice to see some joy brought to those who need it most.

More stuff like this is needed.
In magazines, on the internet and in life, it's nice.

What a great article, would love to read/see more of this.
Had to share it on FaceBook so my friends could also read it.

That was pretty awesome, I used to do some volunteer work down at homeless shelters in Boston but I haven't since I got confirmed and stopped going to church regularly, I should probably start doing stuff like that again. I feel like people, myself included, forget that homeless people are still just normal people and articles like this help show us how wrong our misconceptions are.

really cool story

That is so awesome and heart-warming :')

You should try and do more of that form time to time.

In fact, I might give it a go myself if I can locate my old PS1 and 2.

Wonderful article. Even if it is sometimes stated as a "luxury good", it's just better to have entertainment like games available and accessible to all social classes.

However, I think Miss Team Leader could do with reading some of Charles Dickens' works...

Really great article. It's always nice to hear about a different perspective on games.

Keep up the good work.

As a kid I brought my toys and gameboy to the refugee center not far from my place. It wasn't all good and a few things got destroyed, but overall it was a giving experience and it did make a few kids happy.

It's easy to scoff at the unfortunate and it's easy to underestimate the rage that some have for the patronizing and the "well wishers", even just regular folks who are genuinly interested in helping. That scares away a lot of would-be helpers.

This was a truly awesome article. Thanks for sharing such a good experience with everyone.

Can't believe she took away Mortal Kombat. How dare she.

Makes kids happy and she's not sure if it's a good idea ~_~

Now that's what I call an article. It was very enjoyable to read, and it really gives some perspective. Sometimes we forget that homeless people are still people, and this article helped remind me of that fact.

Very interesting, nice to see you take gaming to people that don't have the opportunity to do it all that often. Especially as its homeless adults, people do it in increasing amounts for children in less developed countries or orphanages and people send soldiers games in care packages and stuff but never heard of people doing it for the homeless before. I am sure it happens but it doesn't seem that common.

Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.

I have been a long term gamer, and I have seen video games get in the way of quite a few peoples lives over the years. Ruining relationships, causing people to lose jobs, drop out of school etc.

Even before MMO's were common, and MUDs were the primary source of online gaming (those were text based mmorpgs), they used to have a way to freeze your account to try and help addicted players buckle down and actually get school work done etc because so many would end up dropping out of school because of the games.

Heck, even before that....waaay back in the 80's when builliton board (BBS's) games were all that was really around, I knew one guys who ended up losing his job, having his very long term GF (they were planning on getting married) leave him, and being homeless (cause she kicked him out..and she was paying all the bills by that point)....because of his addiction to a variety of games (Lands, Crossroads etc).

I had about a year of being homeless as well as a kid (Graduated HS on my 16th bday, and my mother was so nice and kicked me out of the house....I didn't realize at that point that she actually legally couldn't dut to being on section 8 (she wanted to rent out my room), so I lived on rooftops for a year). I eventually got a job and rented a room but it took me MUCH longer to do that (like I said...almost a year) because I had already been working and buying my own food since I was 13...and I just ended up renting a storage locker to hold my clothes, using the library for books to read, and hitting the mall for all the free video games I wanted at a Nintendo kiosk they had set up.

So, instead of going out and getting a job (or going to a vocational school for a year which I did when I was 18), I spent all day playing video games, went to the library and had books to read (and would read until I was tired at a dunken donuts), and ended up spending about $5 a day total (They had some very great/cheap deals at fast food places like 3 corn dogs for a dollar at Wienerschnizle). I never stayed at a shelter, asked for money or recieved any help from anyone...and actually had a pretty great time. I could have kept doing it happily for years probably (course this was in California) but I wanted to do more with my life, so I got a job at a fast food restraunt (Carl's Jnr) and rented a room for $200 a month eventually.

But, it would have been pretty easy to just keep living like that, although I would have needed a part time job eventually (although it would not need to pay much at all to support $5 a day). I guess you could probably get by just collecting cans for an hour or so a day or something (think they used to pay like 5 cents per can, so like 100 cans would be all you needed.

Anyway....I certainly would not be surprised if a large # of people who end up homeless have had at least some experience with video games....and many of them have probably at least had video games be part of the contributing factor towards why they are homeless in the first place. Without them, I would probably have just gotten a job right away...and ended up renting a room within a month or two of being kicked out. I only didn't, because it was so easy, comfortable, and just plain fun to live the way I was living.

wulfy42:
Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.

Right.. and not his heroin addiction.

If someone is gaming all day every day then it's an addiction, and there are definitely mental issues there. It's wrong to think that if they couldn't game or weren't gaming they would be model working citizens. They would just find another addiction.

Awww

Fucking great article man, just the upbeat thing this site needed :)

Thanks for sharing this experience

wulfy42:
Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.

I have been a long term gamer, and I have seen video games get in the way of quite a few peoples lives over the years. Ruining relationships, causing people to lose jobs, drop out of school etc.

Even before MMO's were common, and MUDs were the primary source of online gaming (those were text based mmorpgs), they used to have a way to freeze your account to try and help addicted players buckle down and actually get school work done etc because so many would end up dropping out of school because of the games.

Heck, even before that....waaay back in the 80's when builliton board (BBS's) games were all that was really around, I knew one guys who ended up losing his job, having his very long term GF (they were planning on getting married) leave him, and being homeless (cause she kicked him out..and she was paying all the bills by that point)....because of his addiction to a variety of games (Lands, Crossroads etc).

I had about a year of being homeless as well as a kid (Graduated HS on my 16th bday, and my mother was so nice and kicked me out of the house....I didn't realize at that point that she actually legally couldn't dut to being on section 8 (she wanted to rent out my room), so I lived on rooftops for a year). I eventually got a job and rented a room but it took me MUCH longer to do that (like I said...almost a year) because I had already been working and buying my own food since I was 13...and I just ended up renting a storage locker to hold my clothes, using the library for books to read, and hitting the mall for all the free video games I wanted at a Nintendo kiosk they had set up.

So, instead of going out and getting a job (or going to a vocational school for a year which I did when I was 18), I spent all day playing video games, went to the library and had books to read (and would read until I was tired at a dunken donuts), and ended up spending about $5 a day total (They had some very great/cheap deals at fast food places like 3 corn dogs for a dollar at Wienerschnizle). I never stayed at a shelter, asked for money or recieved any help from anyone...and actually had a pretty great time. I could have kept doing it happily for years probably (course this was in California) but I wanted to do more with my life, so I got a job at a fast food restraunt (Carl's Jnr) and rented a room for $200 a month eventually.

But, it would have been pretty easy to just keep living like that, although I would have needed a part time job eventually (although it would not need to pay much at all to support $5 a day). I guess you could probably get by just collecting cans for an hour or so a day or something (think they used to pay like 5 cents per can, so like 100 cans would be all you needed.

Anyway....I certainly would not be surprised if a large # of people who end up homeless have had at least some experience with video games....and many of them have probably at least had video games be part of the contributing factor towards why they are homeless in the first place. Without them, I would probably have just gotten a job right away...and ended up renting a room within a month or two of being kicked out. I only didn't, because it was so easy, comfortable, and just plain fun to live the way I was living.

Why do you have to be so judgmental, man?

How do you know that its not just a hobby for them? Hell, I couldn't think of many better ways to kill time if I was getting over withdrawals from an addiction.

Xdeser2:

Why do you have to be so judgmental, man?

How do you know that its not just a hobby for them? Hell, I couldn't think of many better ways to kill time if I was getting over withdrawals from an addiction.

I'm not being judgemental, I'm just relaying my experiences and observations over the years. In fact, when I was in my 20's I had a large group of friends (20-30) all of which did various forms of speed to stay up throughout the weekends (some of which also did it during the week), of all of us, only 2 (me and one other guy) didn't do drugs at all. What did most everyone do in the middle of the night on the weekends? They played video games or....sometimes they played the card game Hearts (also MTG and a few other things...but video games were the biggest one). We would connect multiple TVs and play doom etc for hours on end.

Now obviously video games didn't make them do drugs, but.....it certainly gave them incentive to want to stay up all weekend long.

I'm not saying video games are bad btw, I have continued to play them without them taking over my life, my wife plays them and we both do many other things. You can enjoy video games as just a hobby and another form of entertainment. That being said....video games often offer almost endless entertainment for very little cost if any. They can easily lead people to ignore other important aspects of their lives, and I personally have seen video games being responsible for quite a few people losing jobs, relationships, becoming homeless etc. Drugs also have a tendency to not work out well for people over the long term from what I have seen, but at least in the short term....most drugs (pot, speed etc)....not including extreme ones like heroin....were less damaging to peoples lives then playing a large amount of video games (more then say 4 hours on average a day).

Muds were dangerous. I know. Before I met my wife (up until 6 months before I did) I played a mud 17 1/2 hours a day on average for a year straight. I had saved up plenty of money, gone to a community college for a year and was bored to death, and found a MUD that was endlessly entertaining...I never ran out of things to do and shoot for. It was absolutely free, and it was always on/available. I only stopped because I realized I was totally wasting my life...and I stopped cold turkey to avoid it all together at that point.

Are video games evil? I certainly don't think they are, but they can be addictive, and that can cause people to ignore other important parts of their lives, eventually leaving them in very bad positions. The sad thing? It's easier in many ways to get addicted to video games then hard drugs. Parents can, and have done so without realizing anything was wrong till it was too late. Children have died become parents were too wrapped up in video games, but much more often relationships end, and children end up with 1 less parent etc because of them.

Everything can be bad if you over do it....but video games are especially dangerous as you don't always realize that your life is going downhill and you are becoming addicted until it's too late.

Really neat article, didn't expect it.

wulfy42:
snip

Hey man good for you pulling everything together on your own like that. I've lived in shelters before and faced my own share of being on the south end of the poverty line, still haven't gotten all my shit together really. And at some point that kind of life style can become so hard to get out of because of its simplicity, you only have so much to worry about.

Oh and I agree anything can become an addiction it just has to get you out of your life for a bit.

GAME'S OVER MALCOM, WE ALL KNOW YOUR SECRET.

Blood Brain Barrier:

wulfy42:
Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.

Right.. and not his heroin addiction.

If someone is gaming all day every day then it's an addiction, and there are definitely mental issues there. It's wrong to think that if they couldn't game or weren't gaming they would be model working citizens. They would just find another addiction.

I'm not gonna argue over whether or not I have an addition (or whatever you want to call it), it just seems like video games are a hell of a lot better to be addicted to than an artificial chemical. My brain gives me plenty of buzz on its own, thank you very much.

wulfy42:
Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.
...
Anyway....I certainly would not be surprised if a large # of people who end up homeless have had at least some experience with video games....and many of them have probably at least had video games be part of the contributing factor towards why they are homeless in the first place. Without them, I would probably have just gotten a job right away...and ended up renting a room within a month or two of being kicked out. I only didn't, because it was so easy, comfortable, and just plain fun to live the way I was living.

I think you missed the most important part of that FIFA story, he played while he was kicking heroin. A very large percentage of people who end up homeless have either mental illness or are addicted to drugs. I have been involved in this community and these were the things you saw all the time. Of course many other reasons saw people end up without a home too, but those are the two biggest. I don't have hard numbers but based on my experience I think video game addiction, if that really is a thing, is probably low on the list of causes.

Great article. Nice to have found such a good read at 5am.

DVS BSTrD:
Makes kids happy and she's not sure if it's a good idea ~_~

These are pretty obviously not kids, they are grown adults. It's a homeless shelter, not a daycare centre.

wulfy42:
Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.

Did you miss the part about "while kicking heroin"? It can be extremely difficult to stop using an addictive drug, and something like video games can make the process a lot easier.

Double A:
I'm not gonna argue over whether or not I have an addition (or whatever you want to call it), it just seems like video games are a hell of a lot better to be addicted to than an artificial chemical. My brain gives me plenty of buzz on its own, thank you very much.

Uh, what's artificial about chemicals? They are very real. And heroin is made from a plant. The irony is pretty strong here, as if anything is more "natural" out of the two, it is the drug.

Opium poppies literally grow out of the ground without human intervention. Video games are a virtual abstraction created out of bits, requiring enormously complex human-designed and manufactured components. So, which is really the more artificial thing?

Note, that I'm not making value judgments here, or saying that one should use opium. Just pointing out that people have often very odd ideas about what's "artificial" and what's "natural" - they are essentially meaningless terms, because anything that exists can be argued to be natural, because everything is ultimately a product of the natural world.

Calling Shadow of the Colossus that? Someone lacks taste.

That was very ballsy and very awesome of you. Everybody has a unique life and reason for where they are today. Sometimes that one time little bit of acknowledgment can go far, or sometimes just make somebodies day. Good for you!

Aardvaarkman:

DVS BSTrD:
Makes kids happy and she's not sure if it's a good idea ~_~

These are pretty obviously not kids, they are grown adults. It's a homeless shelter, not a daycare centre.

wulfy42:
Lol, I wouldn't be surprised if video games was one of the reasons many of the people ended up homeless. That guy that spent 18 hours a day playing fifa for instance.....well, that probably contributed to his current situation.

Did you miss the part about "while kicking heroin"? It can be extremely difficult to stop using an addictive drug, and something like video games can make the process a lot easier.

Double A:
I'm not gonna argue over whether or not I have an addition (or whatever you want to call it), it just seems like video games are a hell of a lot better to be addicted to than an artificial chemical. My brain gives me plenty of buzz on its own, thank you very much.

Uh, what's artificial about chemicals? They are very real. And heroin is made from a plant. The irony is pretty strong here, as if anything is more "natural" out of the two, it is the drug.

Opium poppies literally grow out of the ground without human intervention. Video games are a virtual abstraction created out of bits, requiring enormously complex human-designed and manufactured components. So, which is really the more artificial thing?

Note, that I'm not making value judgments here, or saying that one should use opium. Just pointing out that people have often very odd ideas about what's "artificial" and what's "natural" - they are essentially meaningless terms, because anything that exists can be argued to be natural, because everything is ultimately a product of the natural world.

Yeah, you're right, artificial wasn't the right word. Foreign would've been better.

As well as the 'homeless people are people too' sentiment, I like that this article shows how pervasive and universal gaming has become. Instead of being limited to a small niche, it now belongs to everybody from the richie rich playing the newest games on their top-end technology right down to the little guy playing an old console in his bedroom. I guess what I'm saying it, it's good to see how far we've come.

Louis Martin:
As well as the 'homeless people are people too' sentiment, I like that this article shows how pervasive and universal gaming has become. Instead of being limited to a small niche, it now belongs to everybody from the richie rich playing the newest games on their top-end technology right down to the little guy playing an old console in his bedroom. I guess what I'm saying it, it's good to see how far we've come.

It also shows how far we haven't come, since homelessness is still a big problem. The idea of progress in the acceptance of gaming seems rather insignificant compared to real social problems. A term which I would usually hate to use, but seems rather appropriate here is "First World Problems."

Although I did enjoy the article, it does kind of come across that the author though he could come in and delight the denizens of the homeless shelter with his amazing box of games that would blow their minds and somehow turn their lives around via gaming.

There are still people starving to death in many countries, or being blown apart by actual land mines, bombs or machine guns. Video games seem rather insignificant in this equation. Especially when they have the potential to distract from serious education or political awareness/involvement that could actually make a difference.

Touching story, reminds of VICE's work. Good to get readers out of their comfort zone from time to time.

That was a great read. Articles like this are what really set the Escapist apart from other sites. And good on the author for spreading the joys of gaming to those that could really use some joy.

Aardvaarkman:

Louis Martin:
snip

It also shows how far we haven't come, since homelessness is still a big problem. The idea of progress in the acceptance of gaming seems rather insignificant compared to real social problems. A term which I would usually hate to use, but seems rather appropriate here is "First World Problems."

Although I did enjoy the article, it does kind of come across that the author though he could come in and delight the denizens of the homeless shelter with his amazing box of games that would blow their minds and somehow turn their lives around via gaming.

There are still people starving to death in many countries, or being blown apart by actual land mines, bombs or machine guns. Video games seem rather insignificant in this equation. Especially when they have the potential to distract from serious education or political awareness/involvement that could actually make a difference.

You're right, video games are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This is, however, a site about video games.

That was a really great article, keep up the good work! I especially loved the part at the beginning with Mario!

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here