Deborah Yaffe

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Playing for keeps

By Deborah Yaffe, Apr 26 2018 01:00PM

Despite my near-total lack of interest in video games, I am always happy to hear of another game-creator developing an Austen-themed product (here and here, for instance), presumably with an eye firmly on the female market.


The latest is Austen Translation, slated for a May 1 release, wherein you play “a young unmarried woman of uncertain means who is closing in on her expiry date.” You attend four social events, during which you must outflank other eager bachelorettes and land a suitable marital prospect. (“Failure to marry is not an option,” warns the governessy British voice narrating the promotional trailer.)


The multiracial mix among both suitors and bachelorettes reflects a progressivism notably absent in Austenworld, and some of the scenarios teased in the trailer do not sound terribly Austenian. “An unscrupulous rival plants a needle in a rival’s hay bale seat”? Even Lucy Ferrars is subtler than that! (Also: hay bales?)


But I’ll happily take marital maneuvering and nasty needles over the usual gory fare of traditionally male-oriented video games. The stakes may be high – even, arguably, life and death – and the emotional abuse may be violent, but at least you won’t have to clean up any blood.


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