Cart Life

A "retail simulation" that tells stories of "social stratification, food, romance, money and death."

There are all kinds of dull, municipally themed video games out there. And then, there's Cart Life.

Richard Hofmeier's throwback "retail simulation" opens up the intricate world of Georgetown, a city where you can try your hand at different characters operating different street-side businesses. The various protagonists come with their own issues -- one is a devoted single mom, one a smoker -- which shape the game-play.

And business brings new questions. Should you get a permit or risk getting busted? How much is too much money to charge for a newspaper? (After my character ripped a bunch of papers trying to fold them, I tried to sell the rags for $3 a piece, without much success.)

Here's Hofmeier's description:

"Cart Life is a retail simulation which utilizes common video game conventions and other previously employed devices to tell stories that deal with social stratification, food, romance, money and death. The cast of characters portrayed in this project is mostly comprised of fictional citizens of a fictional city in the Western United States. However, some of the characters may bear resemblance to real people, from whom the author has obtained permission..."

The game is available as a free download, or as two deluxe editions that come with additional characters and other bonuses.

All images courtesy Cart Life/Richard Hofmeier.

About the Author

Henry Grabar

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.   

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