Begging, Giving, and Gamification

I have lived in New York City for just over two years now and I am ashamed to admit that the homeless faces that frequent the subways, sidewalks, and parks now make less of an impression on me. Maybe the modus operandi for a New Yorker requires this sort of numbing to homelessness or just the fact that New York City seems to be, at times, overrun with the problem. Whatever the case may be, my wide-eyed eagerness to help whenever I could has faded.

Last Pick Productions, a Vancouver videogame studio, has created an application to (hopefully) help remedy this problem. The app, called iBeg, is expected to release in the spring of 2013 and is meant to simulate the life of a homeless person. A player is given a homeless avatar and is charged with the responsibility of keeping that avatar fed, clean, and protecting it against the harsh elements that come with living on the street. There are a few different options a player can choose so that their homeless avatar can earn money: simply beg pedestrians, play an instrument, or create a story like you just need money to fix your car.

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