Realistic poverty isn't a subject that is commonly featured in video games. The medium rarely asks players to balance finances with real-world consequences or to experience absolute economic destitution.
I spoke to Adam Crowley, author of Representations of Poverty in Video Games. He talked about how, instead, many games offer players an experience of poverty tourism, that is -- a chance to go "slumming" in a digital world. Players, Crowley says, can observe the working poor and can wander through disadvantaged communities from a position of privilege in many games. This, he explains, establishes a fanciful relationship with poverty, one in which poverty is experienced as mere entertainment.
While games rarely include "absolute poverty," where you have no access to the things that you need, they do sometimes include "relative poverty," which forces you to consider economic contexts.
This is where we landed for this list. These are games that offer not only a representation of working-class people living on low incomes but invite you to step into these settings. This sometimes comes with the hope of engagement or making a statement about these things, but equally can simply offer the chance to get a better understanding of this way of life.
This list includes 36 games from the last 10 years, with 404 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to work for minimal money.