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.


  1. Shadowcat says:

    Obligatory Stampede poem for Adam: link to youtube.com

  2. aequidens says:

    It’s a high pitched sound
    Hot rubber eternally pressing against a blackened pavement
    A wheel is forever
    A car is infinity times four

  3. Dances to Podcasts says:


    link to schoolvanmorgennazareth.be

  4. Cor Cordis says:

    Vash The Stampede?

  5. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    People don’t talk about Paradroid enough, let alone write poems about it.

    O! How I’ve longed to be
    a burly 783,
    ending all discord with a burst of flaming glee.
    Or an 821 – oh, what fun!
    Up and down those decks I’d run
    knowing mine was the bigger gun.
    And as a lowly maintenence droid I’d not be suspected
    but those pat assumptions poorly directed
    because I’d send you to your silicon god with a hefty prod of my welding rod.
    Or dare I dream… the 999?
    The greatest post for the shortest time –
    Could such an honour true be mine?

    I decide that I can take no more!
    If I have to scour every floor
    I will find a worthy robot drone
    and wear his body as my own.

    Well what’s this? I spy him!
    A sentinel dallies in the dark.
    I circle my prey like a hungry shark
    then poke him with my transfer spark.

    But alas! The transfer is rejected
    and with it my dreams of a life beyond my means
    and so I resign myself instead
    to serving drinks from off my head.

  6. Skabooga says:

    Here is a favorite from William Wordsworth: “A Night-Piece”:

    ——The sky is overcast
    With a continuous cloud of texture close,
    Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
    Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
    A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
    So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
    Chequering the ground–from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
    At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
    Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
    His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
    Bent earthwards; he looks up–the clouds are split
    Asunder,–and above his head he sees
    The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
    There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
    Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
    And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
    Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
    Yet vanish not!–the wind is in the tree,
    But they are silent;–still they roll along
    Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
    Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
    Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
    At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
    Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
    Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
    Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.


    Which brings to mind my favorite poem from Grim Fandango:

    It shone pale as bone,
    As I stood there alone,
    And I thought to myself,
    How the moon that night,
    Cast its light,
    On my heart’s true delight,
    And the reef where her body was strewn.

  7. DXN says:

    There once was a gamer called Steve
    Who spent all his nights playing Eve.
    When it came to sunrise,
    He’d exclaim in surprise,
    “Fuck!! What am I doing with my life.”