“Spent”

I chose to analyze a webgame called Spent, which is a game that puts the player in a position of unemployment and poverty. In the game, the character is a single mother who has just lost her job, her home, and only has $1000 left in savings. The player, who is the active agent, must figure out what to cutback on, or give up completely, in order for the mother and her child to survive. The main goal of this game is to make it through the month without going bankrupt.

The layout of the game provides a depressing, hopeless, atmosphere while the only sounds are limited to paydays, and user choices. Throughout this game, there are facts about the economic hardships that the US is currently facing. It explains how those with low/no income are forced to decide what’s important enough to spend money on, such as health insurance or their child’s $25 field trip.

I believe Spent provides a good representation of the hassles and choices that those in poverty are forced to deal with in their lives. At the end of the game, after standing in the mother’s shoes and feeling her pressures, the game asks the player for a $5 donation to those “living spent.” This was a good choice of the designer to add this to the end of the game rather than the beginning because the player now feels sympathy for those in need. Even the fact that the donation is only $5 reminds the player of how much something as little as $5 meant to them when they played.

I honestly teared up a bit after playing because it reminded me of what my family had to go through when they were younger. This game scares me because I am aware that after I graduate I’m already going to be in debt for every college loan that I’d taken out. I’m already afraid of the future, and this game only reassures me that, if I’m not careful, the future ahead could be a dark one for me.

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