Shakespeare’s Game is Afoot: The Bard in Video Games

Celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary from the comfort of your gaming chair.

When William Shakespeare died – 400 years ago today – he left us with a rich and bloody mass of brutal murders, treasonous plots and fantastical creatures. Perfect fodder for a wave of Shakespearian video games, then?

While gamespulp would love to spend our gaming hours scheming and solving puzzles as the fiendish Puck or leading our troops ‘Once more unto the breach’, Shakespearian games have been devilishly difficult to come across. Luckily, a few developers have been kind enough to ensure that we can celebrate the Bard four centuries on, without taking our thumbs of the gamepad…

 

Too too solid Psycho

‘Fie on’t! ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature possess it merely’.

Arguably (at-least, if you’re arguing with us) one of Shakespeare’s finest soliloquies, reciting the ‘too too solid flesh’ speech from ‘Hamlet’ is many actors’ dream – so we can only imagine voice actor Sonny Strait’s glee when he got to record the lines for Borderlands 2’s Psycho antagonist.

Any Psycho in the game has the chance of reciting Hamlet’s famous contemplation on death… and probably gives David Tennant’s version of the character a run for his money while they’re at it. We also hear talk of Goliaths announcing another famous Hamlet quote – ‘goodnight sweet Prince’ – as they die; let us know if you’ve been lucky enough to hear it in action.

 

In this Rapture I shall surely speak’

If you’ve been playing Bioshock Infinite and your first thought on hearing those sinister possession whispers wasn’t to reverse the audio, then you’ve been seriously missing out.

The result is a hushed rendition of just a few lines from one of Juliet’s soliloquies:

Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night. Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars.’

We never thought we’d hear such a romantic moment sound so much like a threat…

‘Is this a Dagger I see before me?’

Come, bitter poison, come, unsavory guide! You desperate pilot, let’s crash this sea-weary ship into the rocks! Here’s to my love!

If you want to go on a proper, old school Easter egg hunt – a take-the-third-Oak-on-the-left-and-follow-the-dusty-trail sort of affair – then Skyrim’s nod to our Will’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is the closest you’ll get.

Spend your afternoon heading to the shrine of Daedric Prince Peryite: once there, you’ll want to clamber down the cliff in a South West direction and search the base for a dingy alcove. For all your troubles, you’ll be rewarded with two corpses –but it’s the dagger and poison that give the game away, creating an unexpected tableau of the two star-crossed lovers.


Well, we’re still waiting for a hack-and-slash that will let us play as Titus Andronicus, and the planned MMO Arden, which would have let us explore Shakespeare’s worlds, was sadly cancelled. If you’re looking to get your teeth into something a little meatier, you could always try the shamelessly non-canonical Hamlet PC game – but we think that these three easter eggs are more than enough to sate our Shakespearian need for another year!

 

To play or not to play? Buzz over to our Twitter and Facebook pages and let us know.

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