Ever Jane

A single Jane Austen fan in possession of a computer must be in want of an MMORPG.

In today’s most entertaining bit of brilliant-or-bonkers, a new online role-playing game set in the virtual world of Jane Austen has reached its Kickstarter goal. Creator Judy L. Tyrer’s playable period piece Ever, Jane reached $109,563 of its $100,000 goal yesterday, with the help of 1,600 backers eager to increase their Bow and Curtsy skill or level up in Piano-Forte.

Set in an explorable Regency-era England, the prime focus of this particular RPG is a gossip/invitation system, which drives the actions of many of Austen’s genteel characters. The playable characters (who can band together in guild-like Families) will also get to develop reputations and personality traits, including Happiness, Duty, and Status. The game’s two major events are balls and dinner parties — and if you’re the hostess, you earn extra points if you provide exemplary meals to your guests. There are also plans for mini-games (like ball dancing and Whist). From the Kickstarter description, it appears that male characters can hunt and fish, while female characters can practice sewing and embroidery. (Before you cry out about gender inequality, just remember you’re playing a Jane Austen videogame.)

The game sounds like it’s a long ways away from coming to fruition, but Tyrer’s Kickstarter should be (and seems like it was) an easy pitch for any Austen fans eager to further explore the author’s mannerly world. Truth be told, it’s a damn interesting idea.

It got me thinking, though: Are there any other historical classics that would be well-suited for a second life in the virtual world? There are endless options for open-world explorations of Anna Karenina (think of the farming!!!), The Great Gatsby (You’ve completed quest “Find Owl-Eyes”), or Les Misérables (Fantine reached Lvl. 17 Prostitute!). I can do this for hours, guys.