So, is this all there is? A begging simulation? Okay, I get it: destitution is a horrible, horrible fate and something must be done for the homeless. I'm well aware of all this. I will note that the social situation of the middle ages (and of the fantasy milieu described here) was a lot harsher than it is today. Though this in no way makes destitution today acceptable, it also means that the situation may not be as dire as it once was.

That said, the randomised town descriptions are quite beautiful. It's a shame that, given the player character's situation, he is unable to enjoy the vistas offered by the different towns and cities that he visits. We are offered a brief but tantalising summation of what each town is known for, as deft an impression as anything from the brush of Monet or Renoir, and then we can only beg until the opportunity arises to either stay another day or move on. In a way, this brings home the desperation of the situation better than any long-drawn editorial can. In spite of the freedom to wander, we are shackled by the need for shelter and sustenance; and it's a losing battle, at that.

As a work of art, "Begscape" is quite excellent. As a work of interactive fiction, though it manages them better than some others I could mention, I still find that it falls a little short in both the scope for interaction and the supply of fiction. There is simply nothing to do and no progress to be made; there is only the experience of privation. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I doubt if many paintings get published in literary digests.

As a work of breakfast, "Begscape" is a stone. A beautifully carved stone, but a stone nonetheless. Well, all right, maybe there's a cup of chrysanthemum tea to sip as you contemplate the stone, but that's all you're going to get.