Begscape

Begscape

Porpentine

Twine

My initial reaction to this was so-so. We are promised a begging simulation, and we get … a begging simulation. What little text it has is beautifully written: economical, ethereal, evocative, other-worldly. But then, we were promised a begging simulator by Porpentine, so we expected that. The action is monotonous. Mostly, we can beg. Sometimes we can choose to leave. Sometimes we are forced out. No need to ask how this will end, just when.

Which, I suppose, is the point – and a perfectly fair point, so far as it goes (though hardly novel or deep: “beggars can’t be choosers”). For a while I was inclined to get a bit steamed up that it is so absurdly reductive – that it stereotypes “the beggar” as a faceless, choiceless victim in a contextless world, whereas in actual fact things are more complex. “The beggar” is a human being, not “a beggar” but a “person, begging” with all the complexity that entails, and (however well-intentioned) the construction of the stereotypical “beggar who has no choice” is a dehumanizing move. But on reflection, I think that’s not a fair criticism. Sure, a “begging sim” is as reductive as any sort of “sim”, and begscape is designed to be the quintessence of reductiveness. That is the point. It evidently wasn’t the author’s intention to do more than explore one tiny corner of the topic, and Begscape, however briefly and slightly, does do that effectively.