We humans live in a complex world with many social injustices imbued deeply in our societal structures. Creating a more just world means engaging with the wicked problems of our day that are systemic and run deep. Life’s Levers is an open-world, first-person game that helps us dive into our complex real world of two particularly interdependent social and man-made systems that directly impact our lives– our financial and ecological systems.
The game takes us on a journey in the life of Saddle, a young graduate in the city of New York, caught in the quagmire of student debt, tough financial choices, and a crumbling exploited planet. His individual story like any, depicts how as part of a collective we make up the system and its characteristics, but simultaneously, are also forced into these characteristics and choices by the system. One is compelled to think, does human agency really exist in our challenging world? Systems thinking anyone?
The narrative of Life’s Levers is for each player to find their own story of what it means to live in this world in their own unique way and to find their own agency if so compelled.
The story begins with Saddle, a young graduate starting out fresh in New York City. He is under fresh student loan debt, and a job crisis, while his beloved city is facing the threat of rising sea levels and a deteriorating climate. He is trying to hack it in the city so he can securely raise his own family someday. The future however depends on two systems with seemingly opposite goals– more money to secure a stable financial foundation or a better planet to secure a stable peaceful life. The climate, he and his contemporaries have freshly realized sways the economy like a buoy tossing in rough seas. What are the best choices that he can make? Towards what goals is the world around him perceptibly moving and can he go against the tide? Are choices really dumb or intelligent or are they a product of access and privilege?