Zachary Sniderman writes on Mashabe.com:
It’s one thing to feel bad for homeless people; it’s another to be forced into their shoes. Advertising agency McKinney has teamed up with Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD), a non-profit based in North Carolina, to create SPENT, an online game that guides users through what it feels like to be homeless.
Here’s how it works: If you accept the challenge to play, you enter a simple point-and-click game, navigating multiple choice questions about your livelihood. The site says you have been stripped of your savings and are currently unemployed, asking, “Can you make it through the month?”
You’re given simple choices with varying consequences. Do you want to try working in a restaurant? A factory? If you live far from the city your rent will be cheap, but, as you’re informed through pop-ups, you’ll have to pay more for gas or transportation.
The game’s integration with Facebook is its best feature. When faced with some choices, (like your landlord raising your rent) the game will ask you to decide whether to ignore the claim, pay it or ask a friend. The last option opens up a pre-written statement in Facebook where you can email one of your actual friends for “help,” bridging the gap between virtual reality and the real uneasiness of having to ask a friend for assistance. This simple act also helps spread awareness for the game by attaching a logo and small description to your request.
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