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Comic for: January 16th, 2008
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The Zapper!: "When He Shall Die"
Posted: Wednesday January 16th, 2008 by

For a few months now the Zapper has been without zappees, but here at the beginning of the year it's really been cranked up. Yesterday, I had to decide whether to do a comic about Star Trek Online, or about the subject of today's comic "Arden: The World of William Shakespeare".

Arden is an MMO set in the 1600s featuring characters, surprisingly enough given the full title, from the works of the great bard. Edward Castronova, an associate professor of telecommunications and the creator of the game, "abadonned" the project and released it to the public as is. The game was funded by a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant and was meant to study economic theories. Castronov's reason for discontinuing development was simply "It's no fun".
Source: Technology Review [ more info ]

Now, it's an interesting idea for an MMO. And despite being meant to study economical theory it probably would have served as a great teaching tool or a study aid. But as Castronova admits himself, you need a bit more challenge to keep gamers engaged, if you're shooting to contend with some of the other huge MMOGs on the market.

The idea of making and MMO set within the works of a famous literature is an interesting one. Hopefully, Arden serves as a leaping point for other developers to attempt it and not as an example of "why it won't work".

Today's Pimpage: The Horizons fly is quoting "Romeo and Juliet" Act 3, Scene 2.

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