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I was thinking of learning about making games, so I thought of an idea about making a game on a play, since the content is already there. I actually found well parsed XMLs of Shakespeare's plays. I thought of a few rather simple game-play elements, but none seem fun. I thought of a 'word shooter' but it wouldn't be much fun since there are so many speech lines. Then I thought of a game where you have to match which of the characters currently on the screen said a particular dialog.

I know that this game probably will not be much fun, but I could try to make it fun. What I may be able to do right now is make an application which 'enacts' the whole play. You can skip right to any act or a scene in an act etc. It will be a 2d game and i will use pygame.

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This question is pretty broad as it is now. Are you asking about gameplay that could fit within a particular play? Shakespeare's plays cover a very wide variety of topics and storylines. Arguably, you could fit at least one of his plays into any genre. Can you narrow down your question? –  chaosTechnician Aug 31 '11 at 17:06
    
I thought of a 'word shooter' but it wouldn't be much fun since there are so many speech lines. Then I thought of a game where you have to match which of the characters currently on the screen said a particular dialog. Both seem not very well thought, but that's all i come up with. –  tavish Aug 31 '11 at 17:19
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Maybe an adventure game where you act out one of the plays... –  thedaian Aug 31 '11 at 18:08
    
You could mix it into a Science Fiction theme involving space travel and planet exploration (wasn't the original Star Trek series influenced somewhat heavily by Shakespeare?) to make it more appealing to a more sophisticated audience who like dramas that involve newer/futuristic technology. –  Randolf Richardson Aug 31 '11 at 18:47
    
If you're familiar with the play/movie "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", you could do something similar: The player controls characters which are only tangentially related to the play--showing up in key scenes. –  TreDubZedd Sep 1 '11 at 14:35
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4 Answers

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How about these as options (both implemented as some kind of point-click adventure)...

a) Break down the story and have the player have to say the right things at the right parts. If he doesn't, something funny (and usually painful) happens down the line. It may not be immediately afterward, so for example (if the player knows the play) and MacBeth asked the wrong questions of the witches for example, he might not be warned, "Beware the ides of March!" and so he gets axed at some inopportune moment because he's out playing croquet on the ides of March... or something like that. You get the idea.

b) Have the story play through linearly. But insert extra bits in between parts of the actual story, things that might have happened to the main character(s), and play those bits out. interactively. So for example after some speech in Othello, he's ravenously hungry and you have to help him find the kitchens or he comes to an ignoble end.

Traditional stories are linear, that's why they tend not to translate too well to an interactive experience. It's the interactiveness that makes things fun. However, the best value you're going to get from Shakespeare's plays comes from his excellent stories and characters. Basically if you view a story as a linear sequence of events i.e. a linear graph, then in case (a) you are allowing branchings in that graph, but those branchings immediately lead to a cut scene detailing the consequences of failure (i.e. of choosing the wrong action). Whereas with (b), you are lengthening the graph by inserting extra "pieces" of interactive story in between the main (and mandatory) parts of the graph. In this latter case, wrong choices need not be fatal, they can just be for fun, because it doesn't affect the outcomes of each part of the main storyline.

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How about a 'Find the Item' game where you hide an item somewhere in the play / act / scene. You have a time scroller so you can go back and forward through the play enactment looking for that item hidden somewhere in one scene. And/or you could have multiple items flashed to the player before the game begins and he has to find as many as he can in a time limit. Have multiple decoy items, or have all items selectable so you can click any item for an answer.

There there's an obvious 'tomato throw' game. Try to hit the actors by launching tomatoes at them, or target non-actors too, depending on the objective.

'Shakespeare Hero' - Have the words come at you while they are being spoken/presented, and either type them as a typing test, or click them to a certain rhythm (ha, can't really see how this would work, but it would be funny!)

'Mystery' - Have the player watch a scene, and ask her a question afterwords. The question could be about the written content (ie: Who said "...."), or have the actors 'randomly' doing quirky things not related to the play, such as scratching, sitting, sneezing, etc, then quiz them on who did what.

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How about a theater manager game, where you can hire actors, upgrade the scene. You get money based on the audience. The actors could also have experience levels and/or stats. You could also expand this game to other plays, or make some mini-games in it, like some button-mashing, some kind of "improvise" mini-game etc.

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There was some very nice take on similar topic in Psychonauts.

There you had set with decors and few plays and a sad/happy lighting. So by switching between modes you transformed the plays to achieve your goal.

So you sandbox the plays, and give options to influence and mutate some key scenes to advance.

So your protagonist is trapped in the world of Shakespeare plays and lets say he needs to solve puzzle that requires poison, so he must save Romeo and Juliet etc etc. So we have gameplay where he must think what he may use from each play and some QTE and other ways to influence the plays plot to obtain the items he needs.

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