Feeding the Forgotten is a game by Nic Lyness and can be found at time of writing at this page for free.
I like games that re-contextualize things, I have a soft spot for them. So it’s no surprise that I like Feeding the Forgotten. By making quests inherently virtuous its given me pause in thinking about what a quest, and quest markers mean.
Feeding the Forgotten is about as straightforward as can be in terms of mechanics. Find those in need strewn about its bright and cheery depiction of urban space. Those needing help will be marked with bright question marks above their head much like you see in so many RPGs. But here there is no quest to complete, no personal gain in the end. You’re simply going to give those you find what they need to survive, some food, goods or even conversation depending on their need. That’s it, very straightforward.
The player doesn’t get anything out of these quests, that is unless you count the satisfaction of helping. Feeding the Forgotten isn’t a masterpiece of game design. But it will stay with me the next time I play a game where quest markers rest above people’s heads. Are my actions benefitting anything besides me? Could I be doing something better? Something more? Even if they claim the task is in their interest is that my underlying personal motivation?
Feeding the Forgotten won’t give me much in terms of answering these questions. But I’m glad it’s going to help me ask them.