Hamlet doesn't end well for pretty much every character in the play. In fact, you could say that, as character choices go, most decisions made by the cast are the wrong ones. That's what Ryan North has said and his Kickstarter project has come up with a way to let you see if you can do any better: To Be Or Not To Be is an illustrated, chooseable-path book version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Read on to learn about what may be potentially one of the most utterly brilliant projects to appear on Kickstarter.
Here's Ryan North explaining the project himself:
So, taking the form of a choose your own adventure book you can play as Hamlet, Ophelia, Hamlet's father (there's no way to avoid being killed on the first page, or having the piss taken out of you for it) and guide them through Shakespeare's world to try and survive. Though, with 110 different death pages it'll be difficult to avoid your mortality.
North's rounded up a vast array of comic book artists and illustrators to bring his choose your own adventure novel to live, too many to list here, well, here are a few:
- Becky (Tiny Kitten Teeth)
- Dave Kellett (Sheldon)
- David Malki (Wondermark)
- Ethan Nicolle (Axe Cop)
- Jon Rosenberg (Scenes From A Multiverse)
- KC Green (Gunshow)
- Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie, Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens)
- Randall Munroe (XKCD)
- Steve Wolfhard (Cat Rackham, Adventure Time)
And since launching the project North has hit his target of $20,000 almost eight times over and currently sitting at more than $153,000. Every named stretch goal has been unlocked and there are currently only two left, one at $175,000 and $200,000. Though with 26 days left on the clock it's hard to see them not getting there.
You may have noticed by this point that the final product is to be a book and not a computer game. Well, we're justifying this by pointing out there is an eBook version for the lower tier pledges, and we'll leave it at that.
Three more important points to highlight on North's Kickstarter page:
- "[U]nlike Shakespeare I didn't skip over the pirate scene in Hamlet. You get to fight PIRATES. With SWORDS. And yes OF COURSE you can choose which body part you cut off. Why would you write a book where you can't do that is my question."
- "Ophelia's adventure is as well-thought-out as Hamlet's, but rather than being a hero suffering from crippling inaction, you are a smart, self-sufficient woman who knows what she wants and is totally rad 100% of the time, and also you are dating a PRINCE. You can choose what you want to do with your life: help your boyfriend who's crying about a spooky ghost, or I don't know TAKE DOWN INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS INSTEAD?? It's nuts. It's awesome. Oh my gosh."
- "This book will be published with help from Breadpig, who have a proven track record in bringing awesome into the real world. [...] The great thing about Breadpig is that they donate 100% of their share of any profits to worthy causes, and for this book we're donating to the Canadian Cancer Society (more about them here).
"You might know that my wife Jenn was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this year, and while we've been lucky enough to have a cancer that's been responding to treatment, cancer is still a terrible, terrible disease. By supporting this book, you're also supporting research for a cure. That is really cool!"
So, if North can deliver on his promises then pledgers will be supporting cancer research, get an illustrated choose your own adventure version of Hamlet, and get the opportunity to fight terrorists as Shakespeare's damp damsel. Pretty ace, right?
Read more and maybe pledge here.
The Guardian spotted this one.