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Vancouver (and the World) Would be Cooler If Our Housing Crisis Was Solved Via Video Games

Screenshot via Pallas Projects/Studios.

Vancouver Would Be Cooler If is a column that advocates for things that either exist in other cities and/or could otherwise serve to improve and celebrate life in our own.

Vancouver’s lack of affordable housing is not unique – it’s a global issue, not a local phenomenon. What is unique about Dublin, Ireland’s housing crisis, though, is that it’s the catalyst and subject matter of a new 16-bit video game, called Mega Dreoilín. The project, which has been a work-in-progress for the past year, was conceived by two passionate political radicals and long-term renters – Han Hogan and Donal Fullam – and developed with the assistance of cutting edge Dublin-based not-for-profit artist-run organization, Pallas Projects/Studios, along with a bunch of Dublin-based artists. Mega Dreoilín is currently being exhibited in Pallas Projects/Studios’ gallery space until May 25th, 2024.

According to the official Mega Dreoilín page, the game is “edutainment designed for the demographic of ‘Generation Rent’”, and aims to “demystify housing precarity, cultural space scarcity and the effects of corporate landlordism in Dublin for a generation of renters unwillingly trapped in adolescence…Mega Dreoilín posits that Ireland’s age-old land question is not as complicated as our political representatives would have us believe.”

The result? More than just a tongue-in-cheek simulated “anti-landlordism” battle against landlords, vultures and Gardai played through four levels (did I mention that Hogan and Fullam also have a killer sense of humour?), it is also a supremely well-researched “revolutionary instructional manual” allowing “players to learn about the bureaucratic land dominance imposed on Ireland by successive waves of colonisers, landlords and global multinationals, as well as the strategies required for collective resistance against these sinister powers.”

Screenshot via Pallas Projects/Studios.

I honestly never thought that I’d see the day where I’d be advocating for video games as a tool for real, social/political change, but this one is just so dang clever, and (seemingly) well-executed and entertaining – not to mention, way too timely/apropos! And at this point, whatever it takes to actually get through to people and initiate systemic change that’s pro-housing for all, I’m all for it. Find out more about Mega Dreoilín here.

Also confirmed coming down the pipeline from Hogan and Fullam: “Tenantgotchi”, a Tamagotchi-inspired first-person landlord game where you control your tenant.

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