GAMING

Play it like Shakespeare

Be it theatre, literature or gaming; 400 years ago or now—you cannot beat the Bard

The master playwright’s universal plots and psychologically-deep characters have been as much a part of technological evolution as cultural progression. Today, Shakespeare’s plays have found their way into the new-age digital space as well, but mostly with a twist. Many of his works have been translated into successful online gaming concepts, thus emphasising his genius at creating not only timeless stories, but fast-paced plots apt for online games.

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Now think, what if Romeo and Juliet were just faking their deaths, as planned, and did manage to escape both families to be together, but later realised that they were not compatible enough to live together and broke up? Assuming that to be the case, Shakespeare plays the mediator again and in the Modern Library’s What’s in a Name introduces Juliet to potential suitors. But wait, before they profess their love for her, you have to help her identify them by noting their Shakespearean traits. If you fail, then a jealous Brutus, lurking in the vicinity, will make sure that the suitor is eliminated from the contest; that too in a brutal way. The game also has an animated Shakespeare, occasionally twitching his moustache and raising eyebrows, keeping a tab of the player's move. However, what stands out as an excellent piece of animation is the wicked Brutus with his more than one way to kill the rivalrous suitors.

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Inspired from Mario, lovestruck Romeo is out on an adventurous trip across the beautiful Shakespeare Country hoping to meet and win the heart of his lady love Juliet. In a bid to reach his beloved, however, Romeo has to pick all the roses, win hearts, kill wild boars, escape skeletons, avoid hazardous vines and spikes and collect chapters of Shakespeare plays along the way. At the end of each level, the Bard appears to congratulate Romeo and let him to the next level.

The game Romeo wherefore art thou? was developed by Shakespeare Country, the tourism authority for the region that includes Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, as part of a promotional tourism campaign.

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Think of Shakespeare’s famous characters as digital trump cards. Could Beatrice beat Cleopatra in fanciability? Is Prospero more cunning than Henry V? You can know this and more by pitting Shakespeare’s characters against each other in The Guardian’s Beat the Bard! interactive cards game. The rules of the game are simple: use the clue to guess your opponent’s card; pitch for your character’s winning trait; the card with higher rating of the trait wins the round as well as the other card. The game ends only when either the player or the Bard has all 20 cards.

The game brings together almost all popular characters from Shakepseare's plays and by pitting them against each other, gives the player a comparable insight into the various traits of different characters.

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Lady Macbeth famously said, “What’s done cannot be undone.” But here’s your chance to undo what happened to Hamlet. The Bard, in his last attempt to address the differences between Hamlet and Laertes, has rewinded the script to the last scene of the final duel between them. Here, once again, Hamlet and Laertes are face-to-face with the sharp blades of their swords dancing between them as they try to kill each other. There is only one way to save Prince Hamlet; by answering the Bard's convoluted questions much within the stipulated time. One wrong or late answer can mean a lethal blow to the prince.

Visually, Hamlet's Duel is conceptualised to be as dark and grim as grim as the scene itself. Edging towards the end of the play, as the animated duel progresses, Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude can be seen drinking the cup of poison intended for her son and dying. As for Hamlet, only the player can help and save him from Laertes's poisoned sword. How? By the use of wit and speed in answering the Bard’s questions, based on his life and works, within the stipulated time.

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Ever wondered how great minds work? Given a situation, can you guess whom Shakespeare could be thinking about? Well, you can certainly try it out in Playing Shakespeare, an interactive online game for children. Similar to a treasure hunt, the player has to identify the character the Bard is thinking about by using clues given by the Bard at each step and by assessing characters using the information given behind each card. The player can flip the card and read about it before eliminating the character. Therefore, the player has to go on eliminating characters based on the Bard's clues until only one is left, the right one.

This bright, colourful game is an interesting way of introducing young children to Shakespeare.

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