You start as a single unemployed person with $1000 to your name living in what I would assume is an apartment because you also recently lost your house. The first “choice” sets the tone of how utterly forced SPENT can be, you are given the option to find a job or fail the game, but you never have the option to apply for unemployment or welfare which in the real world are perfectly viable options. The very fact that the first “choice” is not really one and only has one answer means that the “game” fails to be a game from the very first point of mouse click contact. But for the sake of me ranting some more, let’s continue.
Now all of a sudden you have a child, because it’s convenient for the challenge, and he needs new sneakers and they HAVE to be name brand. You can either buy him some $10 ones at a thrift store (which, let me just point out doesn’t make one lick of sense, because a name brand is useless if you are buying secondhand sneakers as sneakers are not like a car, if they are used you have already lost a good deal of quality and thus there is no point in buying name brand. I wore a pair of used Nikes for over a year when I was 12 and they had holes in them and were not very helpful for my feet, especially in the rain) OR you can buy $100 sneakers…… ……… Hell, as an adult I don’t pay $100 for sneakers, and the pair of year old worn out Nikes that I had were eventually replaced with a brand new pair of excellent Nikes from Modells when my mom realized that you could find great deals in stores like that.
SPENT goes on and on with creating scenarios that just don’t make sense and don’t do much to instill any sense of choice while playing in me. It continues to create a hostile environment where only the extreme example is the right path to take. Hell in one case, one about picking groceries, no matter which groceries you buy you are berated for being poor and choosing bad foods to eat. I had more choices in many old Apple IIc games than I was given in this thrown together interactive work. Oregon Trail was a better simulator of crossing the country than SPENT is about such simple, mundane things.
The purpose of me calling SPENT out for not being a game might seem trivial, but the flaws in what SPENT actually is are the very crux of what separates tax preparation softwareand games. In this age where we have an app store selling tons of disposable dreck to customers and an indie games section on Xbox Live where things such as burning logs and tit grabber programs show up to distract the masses, the definition of what actually makes a game is constantly getting chipped away at. Video games are an amazing medium with a great deal of give and take when it comes to defining games, with options out there such as nintendogs and flower.