Street Stories: The Unique Narrative of Cart Life

We play through Cart Life and share our experiences with this systemic retail simulator.

Discussion

54 comments
eyesandsmiles
eyesandsmiles

this and dota 2 were the best games of last year. i know those are completely disparate, but that is where i want to see games going in either direction. no nonsense strategy and teamwork or lonely, deeply emotional graphic art.

teclologoexisto
teclologoexisto

I feel happier as a gamer knowing that someone proposed an experience like that. Thank you so much for this video, gamespot!  To recognize simple aspects of one's life as legitimate subject of representation was a landmark in the history of other art forms like literature and painting. It opened the doors for so many creative works and movements like Realism and Modernism in general. "Suddelly" books and paintings didnd't have to be about big plots and very important/mythological characters.  This game may be one of the many signs that the "game industry" (although it is an indie game) is maturing. It may not be the future of gaming but it definitety is a part of its many possibilities. It doesn't always have to be a larger than life adventure (we should remember that games like the sims still contained a lot of fantasy). 

grommmmmm
grommmmmm

Looks absolutely brilliant and I love how the mundanity of menial labor is a gameplay element. Don't get me wrong, I am all for social realism and would like to see more of it in video games. But I remember when the first Sims game came out, and thinking that was already too realistic a life-simulation for me, what with all the inane micro-tasks that constitute an average day, most of which you have no real choice in doing. I never seemed to have the time to live a proper life, and I guess that's where the social realism comes into the gameplay. But then that got me thinking, if such games are geared at 'mature audiences', what kind of people actually have time (and morale) to play these kind of games. Independently wealthy aristocratic types with all the time of the world? Maybe what I'm getting at is that if you're really wanting to get social realist, the mundanity and drudgery of working life is an excellent place of departure, but then you also have to give the option for players to 'zone out' watching soap operas or, indeed, playing life simulator games inside the game. 

jmace1
jmace1

Interesting title. I'm kind of disappointed I watched this video now though, because I feel that I already know the hardships the characters face  which is the main draw since the gameplay seems dismal (Yes, I understand that's not the focus of Cart Life). From this short video, it seems they may be too melodramatic at times to convey their point, which breaks the immersion for me yet adds much needed poignancy.

Realization4
Realization4

Thanks for highlighting this game. Sounds pretty thought provoking.

chad28_69
chad28_69

i download it. and played 1 day as Andrus, i got flustered and restarted like 3 times because i ruined the paper or because i couldn't find a place to eat, and then the cat disappeared...

it's cool game and  it's free. i'll paly more when i have time. but thumbs up from me.

mikko321
mikko321

I don't know is it just my computer but this game is VERY buggy. Tried playing with Andrus and got all sort of strange freezes from talkin to people, selling & buying stuff and more.

 

What seems like a nice gaming experience gets ruined by those issues. Good thing is tha game is free and apparently the bugs are being fixed.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

I didn't choose the cart life, the cart life chose me.

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

gamespot sucks 

 

why is this here? its boring as hell 

 

wcwj26
wcwj26

I find it to be somewhat of a thought provoking game. Makes you realise how damn lucky you are. A mundane job other than owning a stand would of been a nice additional though.

plasticreality
plasticreality

Despite how many people feel, I think this is quite brilliant.  I don't think it's meant to be "fun" in the traditional sense - it's about the experience. 

 

If you work at a coffee shop every day, are a single parent, and can barely sustain yourself, you don't need to play this game.  You live it.  To me, this "game" is an empathy simulator.  Many of us have far easier lives (in economic terms at least) than others in society, and instead of assuming that people like this are lazy or inept, this game is trying to show you how the odds are really stacked against people to both survive and maintain a decent life.

 

In other words folks, this is a great example of how you can use interactivity to not only create an emotional experience, but better still learn something in the process and perhaps even have more concern for others in society.  As our economy declines and the middle class continues to become the new working poor, it's something we should all be thinking about.

tgwolf
tgwolf

I don't mean to be critical...Okay, I don't mean to be TOO critical...but I don't know anyone besides maybe vegetables or complete lunatics that would want to play such a game...

Clarkovic
Clarkovic

Interesting indie game.  Is there regenerating health?  Surely there's regenerating health right?!?

WCK619
WCK619

Holy Magikarp, this sounds boring. I couldn't even get through the entire 15 minutes of this video. This is awful.

madjack1812
madjack1812

This game sounds really interesting and I'm both pleased and impressed that someone made it, but to be honest I can't every see myself playing through it.  I just don't have the patience.

ck10304
ck10304

The typing phrases mechanic seems a little tedious

sun_spirit
sun_spirit

This looks like the most depressing game ever. Go to work day-to-day to earn minimal wage and try to survive. Just to come home and play a game about going to work and trying to scrounge just as much!? No thanks :(

hystavito
hystavito

This reminds me of an old Commodore 64 game called Rags to Riches.  You started as a homeless person and worked your way up, at first you just pick up money on the street and return bottles for money.  Later you get a haircut, find a job , start getting educated at different levels and getting better jobs, moving to better part of town, etc.  Managing your time becomes difficult, for example you may have to work/live in one part of town while furthering your education in another.

 

Throughout all this, you have to stay alive by controlling your rest and food levels, and there's an interesting twist in that you also have an alcohol level that can sustain you as well.  The problem is that while alcohol can sustain you, you cannot go to work or school drunk, but sometimes it's your only hope to stay alive especially when it's late and your trying to make it home but there's no stores open that sell food, just alcohol.

 

To top it all off, there's no save system, it's brutal.  You can spend a lot of time progressing and then lose it all on one mistake, and the game throws random events at you that can totally screw you over.  I never actually finished the game, but maybe I will try to now.

 

If this sounds cool track it down and run in an emulator, and emulators have save states so you could use that as your save system to make the game less frustrating.

rad8045
rad8045

been there, done that, its not that fun living that way.

plasticreality
plasticreality

 @LOXO7

 I hear that, but we have to start somewhere.  This is a huge intellectual/artistic leap for the industry, and I think better experiences can be built from this example.  I'm already brainstorming a number of ideas.

ptrpedrohung
ptrpedrohung

 @mikko321 It's probably your computer because it works fine on mine, although there are some regular glitches and crashes though.

jark888
jark888

 @thequickshooter Maybe it doesn't mean for kids. Maybe it is for someone who seek for the meaning of life.

Droogie_1
Droogie_1

 @Gelugon_baat Yeah, what a greedy bastard.  The nerve of this guy trying to make some money off of his work...

plasticreality
plasticreality

 @wcwj26

I agree.  Including mundane, low paying service sector jobs (working for somebody else) would definitely make a better game, in my opinion.  It would at least be more representative of real life. Still, I dig what he's trying to do.

 

I have a partial explanation, however. The developer used to live in Eugene, OR, where I currently reside (I just found this out). Food carts are really prevalent here. I've never lived in a place with so many food carts, especially considering Eugene is not a big city. You draw inspiration from your immediate surroundings, I suppose.

wcwj26
wcwj26

I think a poverty simulator would work as well.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

 @plasticreality Gaining perspective into the lives (and hardships) of others is never a bad thing.

WCK619
WCK619

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Gamespot is having a difficult time finding new content in this slow time of the year, and is resorting to desperately trying to make terrible indie games seem maybe somewhat a little interesting.

tempertress
tempertress moderator staff

 @ck10304 If it wasn't tedious I think it would feel too much like a Farmville experience - meaningless and arcade-y.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

 @ck10304 I believe that's the idea. Not very into this kind of game, but I think that was actually a smart move on their part for what they are trying to go for.

rad8045
rad8045

 @sun_spirit

 I doubt any of the reviewers have lived like that so they would find it interesting, But when you have or still are living from pay packet to pay packet I doubt this game is going to do anything for you.

Clarkovic
Clarkovic

 @hystavito

 Sounds like the game of yesteryear pisses on the 1 in this article

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

@hystavito wow that sounds like real life as well. I've never heard of this game. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the info! :)

wcwj26
wcwj26

As a Brit im not to use to seeing carts parked up much. Though now you mention it, it might go someway to explaining all the hot dog carts I saw in NY.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @WCK619 No--we find all sorts of games very interesting. And when we do, we show those games to you. Just because you didn't find it interesting doesn't mean that others don't; in fact, you could apply that idea to any content. Generally speaking, when someone isn't interested in a particular game or piece of content, they simply move to something else, because there is an understanding that not all games appeal to all people--even the most mainstream ones.

 

Regardless, content like this begins with someone saying, hey--this is a unique game experience, and one that we want to share. Not everyone shares your narrow view of games, or quickly dismisses them as "terrible" because they aren't personally appealing. I, for one, am glad for developers designing new kinds of experiences; you are welcome to limit yourself, but I'm glad that not all minds are so closed. 

tgwolf
tgwolf

 @WCK619 I know, I think this brings the issue of NEVER legalizing drugs to the table in a negative light that I think is compelling...

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

 @rad8045  Even if you ever had. Grew up in low income housing. I don't wish to relive it in a game. This is for those who have never experienced this sort of life and therefore need insight into how it is. I don't mind that, but it's certainly not for me.

VVNightbirdVV
VVNightbirdVV

 @Kevin-V  @WCK619 

I agree wholeheartedly, as others have mentioned this game is more about the experience than just the visceral satisfaction of most games. To me these are the kind of games that truly demonstrate that our medium can be true art.

 

On a side note, being the child of a single mother who had to live the life demonstrated in this game it hits me on a much deeper level emotionally than any FPS game ever could. Thank you GS for doing this story.

Biggs613
Biggs613

 @Kevin-V  @WCK619 While I don't always agree with Kevin, I do this time. This game is def not for everyone, but there are people out there who do enjoy fresh indie games like this. It's nice to see developers taking an even bigger risk in developing something like this as opposed to the same risk bigger production companies take making generic fps games or whatnot.

sun_spirit
sun_spirit

 @Sefrix Lol, that makes sense. But these days anything can be made into a video game. As proven here. Haha.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

 @sun_spirit  hah well you have to have priorities right? Either a nicer car or a nice laptop/smarphone/whatever ;) What this game does for me is prove that my life was apparently video game worthy :P

sun_spirit
sun_spirit

 @Sefrix  @rad8045 It's not so much growing up, as living as an adult now. I had a cozy life as a child, now it's a bit more difficult. I can see the how the experience would be enjoyable for some, or even enlightening for others. I would just really debate wether the characters are better off than I am now! Lol (well I'm writing this with a MacBook on my lap, but still.)