Kyle Myers: Spent

Spent is a game that challenges players to financially survive for a month as if they were a single parent. The game begins by giving the player the option to choose from three separate jobs. Once a player chooses a job, they are continuously shown various situations and are forced to choose the supposed “best” financial decision until they either run out of money or survive for the month. I chose the warehouse job since it was the only option that had steady hours. In addition to the job, I also chose to purchase the silver health insurance plan. The point-and-click game mechanics were very simple, but as the player I often encountered scenarios that made me consider my own ethics. Throughout the majority of the game I did my best to make morally correct choices, such as taking care of my mother and giving money to my children when they asked. However, there were several times where I had no additional money to give and was forced to be selfish. I was lucky enough to successfully make it through the month, but only at the cost of sacrificing my health and my getting fired from my job. If I were to state a minor flaw in the game, I was under the impression that the “ask a friend for help” option was more of an advertising gimmick and distracted the player from potential immersive gameplay.

Not only does this game enlighten the player about the financial situations of others, but it also helps players develop a sense of empathy regarding the seemingly selfish choices of people in difficult situations. The fact that these themes are presented through actual educational facts adds a sense of realism that evokes an emotional response from the player. This game servers a completely educational purpose, therefore the connections the game has to the world are quite literal. Rather than making interpretations as to what the game represents, it should be considered an engaging learning tool that has a clear purpose and message.