Write Emily Dickinson poems with 90s-style game EmilyBlaster
4 July 2022
EmilyBlaster is a game developed by characters in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, the latest novel by Los Angeles based American author Gabrielle Zevin, which is being published by Penguin Random House tomorrow, 5 July 2022.
This isn’t something we see every day, a device, or object, featured in a work of fiction that becomes actual or tangible. The object of the game is pretty simple, all the more so if you’re familiar with the work of nineteenth century American poet Emily Dickinson. To succeed a player needs to shoot words appearing on the screen in the correct order, to form one of Dickinson’s poems, which is shown before the game begins.
My accuracy level was — let’s say — nothing to write home about, but maybe you’ll fare better. The game itself — by the sounds of things — is one of many produced by Sam Masur, and Sadie Green, who collaborate successfully while still studying at university in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow:
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Zevin says EmilyBlaster is one of the first games she devised in the novel, which she intended be simple yet effective:
It’s the simplest game in the book, and I needed it to be convincingly something a clever college student might be able to make on limited resources and time in the 1990s. The game was inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson and by edutainment games of the 1980s, like Math Blaster!
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