The American housing system is filled with loopholes that have treated people of color unfairly. A recent video game developed by housing and community advocates aims to convey the illusion of choice in the housing system. The game is called Dot’s Home. In Dot’s Home, players take the role of Dorothea “Dot” Hawkins, a young black woman living in her grandma’s house. The house is located in an uninvested neighborhood in Detroit and is in desperate need of repairs. Dot travels back in time using a magical key to make a series of housing decisions that can change the future. The decisions include whether her grandma should invest in a shabby house as their first home, whether her parents should move away from their community to the suburbs after their home is set for demolition.
Great piece from @EyeZehUhh on @risehomestories‘ Dots Home:
“Serendipitously enough for me, Dot’s Home provides both validation and insight into how housing inequality manifests for people of color in the U.S.”https://t.co/otc0P1vTa7
— Alliance for Housing Justice (@aforhj) January 12, 2022
The twist of this game is that the outcome is always bittersweet for a black woman in the American housing system. Players travel across different eras, each highlighting a significant moment in history regarding Black homeownership. These historical moments include the Great Migration of the 20th century, urban renewal efforts in the 1990s, and finally, the 2010 foreclosure crisis that helped spur gentrification. Players get to see and experience racist housing policies and lending practices whose influence spanned across multiple generations in reality.
The housing and land director at PowerSwitch Action and a co-producer of the game Christina Rosales stated: “We wanted players to play the game and not necessarily empathize with Dot’s family but just to bear witness to, and accompany them through, these very intimate but consequential moments.” The game is free to download on Steam and was recently featured at the Game Developers of Color Expo.