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Hey Stampede, How About Some Poems: Coin Opera 2

If you choose to spend your time reading RPS, you’ve surely noticed that the site is made of words. There are pictures too, but if you visit here just to look at them, you’re missing the point. Hopefully you enjoy the words and chances are you probably enjoy games as well, and that means you may well be the target audience for a book of poetry about games. Poems are structural – a sort of word architecture – which makes them far more complicated than my paragraphs of witter. I don’t write cathedrals, I write party poppers. I do like reading poems though and when I received an email about an entire book of carefully arranged words about games, I was intrigued. Coin Opera 2: Fulminare’s Revenge has taken to Kickstarter to raise money for printing and you can read more on its page, or below.

As with anything about games, even a book of poetry, this project is a sequel. At least it’s not DLC, eh? Here’s the word on the first:

Back in December 2009, we released our first publication: Coin Opera, a pocket-sized anthology of poems based on computer games – shape-poems imitating the look of Tetris and Space Invaders, sonnets on Streetfighter characters, a break-up poem in the voice of GLaDOS, odes to Wolfenstein and Paradroid, and more besides. The conceit of the book was that Dr Fulminare, Sidekick’s alchemically-inclined editor, had trapped the poets in a ‘brutal simulator’ as part of an experiment.

I’l be honest, it was the ode to Paradroid that sold me on this. People don’t talk about Paradroid enough, let alone write poems about it.

From early 2011, we’ve been slowly gathering more and more poems by a wider array of writers, and are now poised to publish Coin Opera 2: Fulminare’s Revenge, a much bigger sequel featuring the work of over 30 contributors, as well as 2-player poems mimicking the rules of certain gaming genres, super-sized boss poems, an introduction that explores the strange similarities between the two mediums, and a foreword by games journalist and comic writer Kieron Gillen.

Oh no! The looming shadow of a conflict of interest in the form of that there KG. I’d be flabbergasted if I did find a game-poetry book that Kieron wasn’t writing forewords for, so this is to be expected. Also, do note that I’m not telling you that these are the best poems ever (although it is the best foreword), I’m simply noting that a thing exists.

The full list of contributors is available on the Kickstarter page. There are proper writers with awards, followers of academic pursuits and a magician who is touring a show about multiple choice gamebooks. I have some information on the poems, which have all been gathered and simply await printing. One is a cento inspired by Planescape: Torment. If you don’t know what a cento is, read this and then acknowledge how that might be a rather clever thing.

There’s a fine post about the project on the Sidekick Books blog.

Do you have a favourite poem? For reasons too boring to bother you with, mine is Tennyson’s Tithonus, which probably makes me an old fuddy-duddy. It has ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ in it.

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Adam Smith

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