October 20, 2006

Now Online Game on Shakespeare

Edward Castronova, an Indiana University Professor, and an economist who studies virtual worlds, has been awarded a $240,000 grant to create an online game based on the world of William Shakespeare.

The online game, for which a grant has been received from the MacArthur Foundation, is called "Arden: The World of Shakespeare".

It is learnt that the idea behind this project is to produce a virtual world steeped in the rich lore and characters of Shakespeare's work. However, Castronova sees this initiative as far more than just a historical adaptation of the legendary playwright's work. He sees it as a way to teach students about Shakespeare's life and times and his writing, as well as a way to conduct innovative social-science research. He cites it as a strategy that could give social scientists unprecedented ways to test out their theories.

Elaborating further, Castronova said that what they plan to do is to have people encounter the texts in Shakespeare, and the ideas in the text at many points within a really fun, multiplayer game, so that without even knowing it, people can get to learn more about the playwright's work.

However it is believed that "Arden: The World of Shakespeare" will have a hidden purpose beyond teaching, as Castronova plans to use it as a 'Petri dish' for testing out economic theories by creating controlled experiments within the game's population.

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