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Gaming For Change: The Beggar

Vignette art-game, social commentary or satire upon the coin-collection stereotype of so many olden platformers? All of the above, most likely. The Beggar is a free browser game about a hungry hobo. He might look like a cute comedy pixel-art tramp, but in fact he’s a tragic wee thing.

To earn money, he begs. Some people will give, others will be annoyed – but regardless, you end up asking the same people again and again. Shame seems a secondary concern to survival. He can spend that money on getting back into the cosy castle he’s been kicked out of, or on balloons to befriend the locals with.

Trouble is, he also needs food, or he wastes away horrifyingly quickly. Food, of course, costs money. It thus becomes this sad oroborous loop of begging to afford food to have the energy to beg to afford food to have the energy to beg… On top of that, if the roaming police catch you begging, they’ll haul you off to jai and confiscate a sizeable proportion of your earnings before letting you go. The charming graphics belie the terrible futility of the thing (though there is an ending – four in fact).

Super-basic and perhaps a little too vague, but oddly compelling – and, much like Passage (though it’s not even slightly as moving as that), more about evoking a mood than being a great game, per se.

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Who am I?

Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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