Alright, so I was reading our local homeless newspaper. You know, the one that people sell for a dollar instead of panhandling. I don't usually read it. Sometimes I buy it and then throw it away. But today I decided to read it, and it was pretty interesting. Given that I am without a job, or a lease, I'm approaching it from a 'there but for the grace of god go I" perspective.
I'm sure between the title of this post, and the first paragraph, you can get where I'm going with this. Homeless video game! You play a poor schizophrenic veteran, scrounging for nibbles in the wastebasket, swatting invisible flies and getting roughed up by the police! What's not to love? Alright, so my idea has a little more to it than that, but I think you can see that emulating this lifestyle would make for a challenging game.
I think there is more sense to have a game following the efforts of a person on the brink, so to speak. I imagine this game using a role playing game engine. Two key stats would be Charisma and Comeliness. Charisma being a measurement of your ability to effectively relate to others, Comeliness your physical attractiveness. So, your character has limited resources, but is able to stay at the local inns or whatever, until your money runs out. Then, exposure, bad rest, bad diet will degrade your Comeliness and Charisma. Basically, you get uglier, smellier, and who doesn't have a harder time relating to people when hungry and on little sleep?
As these two stats go down, you'll note that townspeople are less responsive to you, and some will out and out ignore you or, worse, tell you to get a job. Shop keepers will refuse to sell to you, and you'll have to go to the seedier parts of town to have an overnight stay at the inn. A key change from the standard RPG is that you couldn't just go kill rats to collect gold. But you might be able to rob people, but then the authorities would get involved. Really, this model could go on and on.
But, like any good indie game, it would probably be best to keep the scope limited. So, I propose a game with about three towns, allowing you to migrate a bit in case you get in trouble with the law. I still don't know what the goal would be. To rescue a princess? I don't know. But if the system were properly skewed, it would be very tough to play the role of the wandering adventurer. And I think that is pretty interesting. Feel free to toss out ideas in the comments, if you come up with anything.