The Frontal Cortex

Shakespeare Goes Multiplayer

I’ve been hankering for Hamlet: The Game for a long time now. Imagine the possibilities: a first-person-shooter (FPS) that lets you inhabit some of the most famous characters of all time. I’d be Hamlet, but I wouldn’t stab Polonius. Or mabye I’d be King Lear, and decide that Cordelia isn’t so bad after all:

Three-dimensional digital worlds and the world of William Shakespeare–it’s hard to imagine two more disparate universes.

But bridging the gap between them is exactly what Edward Castronova, an associate professor of telecommunications at Indiana University and the leading expert on the economies of virtual worlds, is doing.

On Thursday, the MacArthur Foundation is expected to announce a $240,000 grant to Castronova and his team to build Arden: The World of Shakespeare, a massively multiplayer online game, or MMOG, built entirely around the plays of the Bard.


  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    October 22, 2006

    An FPS game involving Shakespear wouldn’t take on the epic storyline format of his plays. Instead it would go something like this: Shakespear starts out overseeing a play and his performers aren’t doing well. After he gets sufficiently pissed he flips out, randomly arms himself and starts killing people. He killes all but one actor who offers his daughters virginity in exchange for his life. After Shakespear finds out the hard way that she’s not a virgin, he torches his whole family, runs out, breaks some random kids back and goes on a quest that ultimately ends in him getting so pissed that he killes himself in the most violent way possible (which differs according to how well you did in the game).

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