Now I’m back in Sydney and making the most of the wifi, I thought I’d take a look at some of the games cropping up to play. I found this one. It’s called ‘Stride and Prejudice’ and it’s the simplest, but most addictive, thing in the world – and just $0.99(US) from No Crusts Interactive. Described as an ‘endless runner based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen’ it’s essentially a mix between your typical ‘jump onto each platform as the screen moves’ and enforced reading of classics. It works on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
You are a pixellated, gowned-up Regency female with gold heels and gloves and a shock of brown curled hair (perhaps Lizzy), and you have to run across the screen jumping from sentence to partial sentence in the book by tapping the screen. You go from chapter to chapter… and you keep playing, and reading, and jumping. Reader mode allows you to use this to read the whole book, while the marathon version sees how well you can play in one sitting. I’m not quite sure the purpose – if it’s to make kids read, then it’s fairly easy to ignore the words and just pretend they’re platforms. It’s much better just as a cute game for fans – I find myself giggling along to the text while allowing Lizzy to jump through the air… or fall badly between the prose (like the below, whoops).
“Stride & Prejudice is brought to you by No Crusts Interactive, where we create family-friendly games that blend progressive educational philosophies with innovative game mechanics,” according to their iTunes description. This gives a bit of a clue behind the purpose, as well as the categorising of the game as ‘education’ (it reached #7 US ranking). The company name ‘No Crusts’ is kids through and through. However, when you put the speed up to full, it’s basically a blur, and if you’re hoping for quiet enjoyment of the book, then probably pass on the game for a while – it can be a bit tense when it’s fast and you’re jumping three to four times in one sentence.
I’ll admit that, after being a Janeite, I’m an avid app-player. I am seriously addicted to Candy Crush, and have gone through many other loves (Bejewelled Blitz, Words With Friends, Sushi Train… I’m there!), so this appeals to me. Endless Runner games are one of those game styles that just will never get old – there’s always a new way to make it fun. From memory, even Google had one of their Doodles as an endless runner at one point.
It’s fairly simple horizontal game play, with a couple of awkward jumps when the platforms are two words in width or you have to double jump, with most of the fun coming from sentences on different heights to each other. I really like that you can change the colour of the background to make it easier on the eyes, as well as the ability to alter the speed. It would be nice to be able to change the text’s font as it sits at quite an ugly Times New Roman at the moment.
It would also have been great to have other characters, or to change into different characters based on who is speaking – or to have some levels to open up. But hey, it’s a simple game and effective for what it is. The credits in the app note that the design is by Carla Fisher, the code is from Peter Berry, Supercosm LLC, the art is from Rick Pinchera and Megan Isom Smith, the Music is from Adrian Hernandez and the text is, obviously, Jane Austen. The text breaks aren’t too awkward, and usually flow nicely, which is an effort and a half.
Fisher’s LinkedIn notes: “Dr. Carla Engelbrecht Fisher is a game designer with a data obsession who’s work blends progressive educational philosophies, innovative game mechanics, and children’s curricular needs to create engaging interactive entertainment.” She previously worked at the Sesame Workshop (yep, for Sesame Street!), and PBS Kids Interactive. She’s New York based.
The music is actually quite fitting – it’s classical but played out in an oldschool ‘gameboy’ style arcade noise. I like it. Check out the tune, and the icon that gets dropped onto your phone or tablets screen, below.
No Crusts Interactive don’t appear to have done any of the other books yet, so fingers crossed they might consider some other classics and canonical Austens. Even if you’re not a huge fan of gaming, there’s something generally rather fun about seeing a Lizzy character clad in Regency garb running like a nutter across your screen.
Anyway, I’m only about 15 per cent through, so I’m off to jump through a few more chapters – apparently something happens when you reach 100% through… I’ll keep you posted… it appears it might not be an ‘endless’ runner after all.
Let me know if you like the concept of the game or not – gimmicky? This video below shows Fisher, the designer, actually playing the game.