Gamers will play homeless person in Vancouver-made iBeg
Is homelessness a game? Vancouver's Last Pick Productions says yes.
During Homelessness Action Week, the game development studio announced it is making iBeg, an iOS and Android title that will see gamers play a homeless person. Players will try to keep their character healthy and clean, deal with rain and snow, and "level up" their "begging skills".
"Earn money from a variety of fun activities, including panhandling, busking, collecting cans, and doing odd jobs," Last Pick's website states. Plus: "Customize and improve your homeless person's home base - build up from a cardboard box to a mansion!"
But, according to the studio, this isn't an offensive exercise in exploitation. Players will be able to use real-world money to buy in-game currency. These purchases will "go towards helping real people dealing with homelessness". In an October 8 blog post, the studio says:
It is our honest hope that when finished, this game will be used as a tool to allow people to donate to Vancouver charities on an ongoing basis. Most people donate a few times a year, around Easter and the holidays, but this application would hopefully keep the donations rolling in every month. The game takes a third-person view of a homeless character and as they purchase in-game items to help themselves out, a portion of that money is donated directly to charities that provide real help for people affected by homelessness. We strongly believe that this can become a legitimate way of fund-raising in the near future.
What do you think of this idea? iBeg's planned release date is spring 2013.