What if William Shakespeare had been a game designer?
Wall Street Journal: You mentioned Shakespeare as one of your interests during your MFA [in theater directing]. What do you think he would have been like as a game designer?
Jonathan Knight: Shakespeare would have been on the forefront. He was an innovator and not just a great story-teller. Arguably, he’s more of a medium innovator. He borrowed heavily. “Hamlet” is a complete rip-off of a story on the prince of Denmark. Some people think he lifted it from a work that actually came between the two stories.
He was such a master at harnessing the new. For him, the new medium was open air theater on the south side of the Thames. He solidified a big portion of the English language with his plays much like Dante did with Italian vernacular.
I’m reminded of Mark Twain, also a master of harnessing the new.
Twain was fascinated, for example, by the typewriter; and he was the first author, or among the first, to submit manuscripts in typed, double-spaced format (as opposed to hand-scrawled in pencil, or worse yet pen).