Jane Austen loved games and a good laugh. Had she lived today in the U.S.A., she would most likely have been a listener of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” a talk show in which the weekly news is rehashed in a humorous format. Each week the radio show features a segment called Bluff the Listener, in which guest callers must guess which of three choices read to them is true. In this one the caller was told:
“The wisdom of the ages are found in the classic books of Western Civilization. The problem is, though, most of those important books are super boring. This week, we heard about an exciting adaptation of classic literature to a 21st Century form. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories. Guess that true story …”
The first story was about a deck building card game, featuring characters from classic literature:
CHARLIE PIERCE: The people behind “Magic: The Gathering” have spent a few years trying to find new frontiers of nerdery to which they can bring the youth of America, and they’ve come up with an idea for all dweebs, an adventure card game, starring the heroes of classic literature.
Each character, in what is going to be called The Dark Library, will be possessed of all the qualities developed for them by their original creators, plus a character-specific superpower bestowed by the makers of the game.
For example: Queequeg, Tashtego and Daggoo, the three harpooners from “Moby Dick” will each get you 125 marksmanship points. While Montresor, the dark villain of Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Cask of Amontillado,” will carry with him 50 brooding points, capable of being overcome only by a greater number of optimism prime points, such as the combined one thousand OP points possessed by the Bennet sisters from “Pride and Prejudice.”
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
PIERCE: There will also be a special gold edged Mr. Darcy card, of which on five hundred will be made, that trumps every Jane Austen character, except Emma Woodhouse, whose archery skills will lay him low.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
PIERCE: “This is a field we’ve been itching to get into,” said Martha Willows Gausman, the company’s director of marketing. “The number of possibilities are absolutely limitless. And now that zombies have made Jane Austen cool again, the youth market is wide open.”
Alas, this card game was completely made up and was not the correct choice. To hear the entire Bluff the Listener game or to read the transcript, click on this link.