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Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be Turns Shakespearean Tragedy Into Shakespearean Hilarity

Alas, poor LOLrick. I knew him well.


If you’ve thought to yourself, “Hmm, I need more massacres and more humor in my life,” you should probably speak to a doctor. Or maybe give Ryan North’s Hamlet-based choose-your-own-adventure game, To Be or Not to Be a spin. Either way. Talk to someone about that.

Jokes aside, the game looks like a hilarious take on the Shakespearean tragedy. You play as one of three characters: the eponymous Hamlet, his ghostly father Hamlet Sr., or Hamlet’s potential wife, Lady Ophelia. You make choices like you would in any other choose-your-own-adventure book. The story changes based on the choices you make, and it can play out canonically, or you can choose from a ton of different Ryan North-y lines.

This game started as a real, honest-to-god choose-your-own-adventure book, and this is its digital incarnation. It features fantastic art from Kate Beaton, Randall Munroe, Anthony Clark, Zach Weiner, and Matthew Inman. Plus if the trailer promises the Hamlet crew hanging out on party boats, you can’t really go wrong.

The game is available now on Steam, as well as on the iOS App Store and the Android Play Store.

(via Offworld)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.