Play SPENT: Can you make it through the month?
June 22, 2011 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Play SPENT: Can you make it through the month?
My agency created this game for a local poverty services non-profit. Too many people assume that being poor is the result of a moral failing or laziness. Hopefully SPENT challenges those assumptions.

If you've lived SPENT in real life (like I have), you might find some of the options limiting, but I think it does a good job of capturing the anxiety of living on the edge.
Role: creator, copywriter
posted by missjenny (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by ND¢ on February 15, 2011: Can you make it through the month?

Kind of exhausting alright! Nice idea
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2011

I found that a while back. It is far, far too familiar to be truly comfortable -- I approve.
posted by Heretical at 10:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Awesome work, mj. I covered it in a blog post on poverty issues. I'm really interested in using games for social change and I thought SPENT was well done.

Metafilter found out about it in February, in case you missed that discussion. There was some criticism that the storyline of a new thing happening each day was unrealistic. (Players don't know, for instance that they have a child until it comes up in the middle of the month.) Despite that, it seemed to get its point across rather well.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 11:55 PM on June 22, 2011

I did pretty well at SPENT, though I think that comes from living in the strategy guide. Parts of the game were a little unnerving, a bit too close to home (the "should I have this infected tooth removed or should I, y'know, not lose my apartment?" question comes up few years). It definitely captures the sense of panic at unexpected expenses.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:47 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, this is great! I will need to consider how I might be able to use this in project outreach.
posted by Kpele at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2011

I think the 'new thing happening each day' is because it only lasts a single month, but it's trying to give a 'broader picture' of what it's like. People can easily take that 30 days and stretch that to be an example of an entire year of similar decisions. And I wouldn't say it's completely unrealistic ... like The Great Big Mulp said, I've lived the strategy guide (very apt description, by the way) and there were weeks where things like that DID keep coming up, day after day after day.
posted by Heretical at 12:12 AM on June 25, 2011

I crashed at day 13, after getting fired.
posted by francesca too at 6:04 PM on June 25, 2011

I have lived this-- right down to the temp job and the fish sticks. Kudos.
posted by psylosyren at 12:44 PM on June 29, 2011

I don't check projects often, but this is awesome. I don't even have kids, but I've been in some of these situations before. Gave it my vote.
posted by codacorolla at 3:49 PM on June 29, 2011

Interesting project, but consider that it may have the opposite effect from the one you intend. I had little difficulty making it through the month with $ to spare -- and I found the expenses that were thrown my way to be unrealistically unrelenting (and unrealistically expensive), as compared with my own experiences on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic scale. Does that mean poor people really are just lazy and stupid?
posted by foursentences at 1:37 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw this a few months ago and love it. Shared it with my organization since they are exploring ways to make data visualization engaging and interactive.
posted by sswiller at 2:17 PM on July 2, 2011

Great idea, but I'm grumbly about the execution. A lot of false dilemmas in there. For example, it is not the case that one must either spend $60 on home internet service, or go without. It is not the case that one must either spend $10 on a store-bought present, or not give a present at all. Etc. When you don't have a lot of money, you need to be more creative about how to get goods and services, and many of the choices are very uncreative and rigid.
posted by parrot_person at 12:30 AM on July 23, 2011

« Older Gifted Police Sketch Artist - Video...   |   Learn to play by ear online.... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.