iBeg invites gamers to play Vancouver's homeless
The in-development video game iBeg will see users role-play as members of Vancouver's homeless population. (Last Pick Productions)
Andrew Weichel, CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 11:17PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 9, 2012 11:33PM PDT
A Vancouver videogame studio is raising eyebrows after announcing a role-playing game that challenges users to step into the shoes of a homeless person “in an unforgiving virtual world.”
Last Pick Productions unveiled the concept and artwork for iBeg on its blog Monday, proclaiming that the game will be used as a fundraising tool to combat homelessness.
The creators say a portion of the money users spend buying items in-game will go directly to charities “that provide real help for people.”
“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,” the blog reads.
But not everyone is impressed. Some have already questioned whether it’s in good taste to turn the struggles of the city’s vulnerable citizens into entertainment.
The main character, according to the blog, wears "a grungy brown coat, a yellowed shirt underneath, and some unfashionable baggy pants.”
“Add some overgrown, messy locks and a pale complexion and there you have it – your very own homeless person.”
A conceptual image on the blog shows the protagonist with stink lines hovering over his head.
There are also screenshots highlighting the game’s style, which pays homage to the eight-bit video games of the 1980s.
In one image, a character who appears to be a pharmacy employee says “Welcome sir, I am willing to help you. Just don’t touch me.”
Players will be tasked with upgrading their panhandling skills and earning money from activities such as busking, can-collecting and odd jobs. They can also upgrade their housing from a “cardboard box to a mansion.
The developers insist they believe the game will be legitimate fundraising effort, noting that most people make charitable donations only a few times a year, usually around the holidays.
The game is scheduled to be released in spring 2013.
Have your say: Is iBeg a suitable way to raise money and awareness on behalf of homeless people?