Cart Life

Cart Life is a simulation video game developed by Richard Hofmeier using Adventure Game Studio for Microsoft Windows released in 2010. The game was added to Steam in March 2013 but later removed when Hofmeier released the full source code for free.

In Cart Life the player controls one of three street vendors, and attempts to run their shop while looking after their health, interests, and families. The game is designed on a pixel-grid in grayscale, with minimal detail, to better allow the player to deduce the mood of each of the three vendor characters.

The game was received well by critics, with particular praise for the relatable characters, though some critics criticised technical issues. In 2013 Cart Life won the Independent Games Festival Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Nuovo Award, and Excellence in Narrative award.

In Cart Life, players control one of three characters, each of whom has a different street vending job; Vinny sells bagels, Andrus runs a newspaper stand, and Melanie sells coffee from a cart. While at their stalls players interact with customers by selling them items and can manage their stall by selecting stock, setting prices, and buying new equipment. Players must also look after the character’s day-to-day lives, including having adequate food, drink, and sleep. Each character has unique situations to address; Melanie, for example, is a single mother of a daughter. When she’s not working, she yearns to bond more with her daughter, in the midst of her difficult busy life. She struggles to have time to walk her daughter to and from school each day, as she seeks custody on limited wages.”