I own a Kindle. In fact, I own two. This is not, in itself, relevant to anything in this blog post, except inasmuch as most of my new book acquisitions over the past year or so have been in electronic format. Electronic book readers are fantastic for making it convenient to lug otherwise heavy hardback books around with you, and also for avoiding the exorbitant prices charged for physical books here in Australia. But sadly, they are not very good for leafing through at random.
This has made it somewhat awkward for me, because I’ve established through long tradition that the topics for my “Game in a Week” games are selected at random from books. And I don’t really have a good way to pick a random topic from an electronic book.
So once again, I’m returning to my (overflowing) physical bookshelves, and feeling guilty about the few dozen books on (, around, under, or vaguely near) them which I still haven’t actually sat down to read. But I’ve picked out an old favourite which I haven’t used for a GiaW before: “Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Facsimile Edition”.
This book is a little special for me. I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone. But more than that, this was the first book I purchased after moving to Australia. I bought it in a tiny book shop (sadly, no longer existing) halfway between the train station and my workplace. It’s bound up in an ill-fitting dust jacket of clear laminate (which is clearly handmade), and the front still bears a large green sticker under that dust jacket reading: “Wordsworth Editions: Only $14.95 RRP. Quality & Value”. On the back is a (much smaller) shop sticker, which prices the book at $8.67. Which is actually a pretty good value for such a hefty book, here in Australia. And it contains facsimiles of the original publishings of every Sherlock Holmes story, complete with typesetting and illustrations. As this is a paperback book containing facsimiles of much larger pages, the reproduced print is quite small, which can make it a little tricky to read. But I did read the whole thing during my commutes, many years ago.
For those who care about such things (anyone?) this edition was published in 1996 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd, ISBN 1-85326-896-8.
So, just to go over the self-imposed rules once more:
- Topic is chosen at random from a book, by opening the book at a random point. The first full sentence completely on the left page and not containing any proper nouns (character names, place names, etc) provides the words which may be used in any way to construct a topic for the game.
- All design and coding work must occur within the 1 week deadline. It is legal to select the random sentence from a book on the night before the week begins, but I am not allowed to start designing the game until the week has actually begun.
- The first release of the game must be posted by midnight (local time) at the end of the seventh day. After that time, no further modifications may be made (apart from critical bug fixes, such as crashes or rendering glitches).
So, I have opened Sherlock Holmes at random, and have hit pages 334-335. This is a few pages into the short story “The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk”, at a point where this stockbroker’s clerk is relaying a story to Sherlock Holmes about being tested on his knowledge of the current value of particular securities, in preparation for a lucrative (but slightly suspicious-sounding) new job.
So with that context explained, the randomly selected sentence for this GiaW is this:
” ‘ A hundred and four.’
Note the double-quoting; this is Mr. Hall Pycroft telling Sherlock Holmes what he said to someone else. I don’t imagine that this subtle grammatical nuance will be important, but I’m at a bit of a loss over what to do with this, and so I’m grasping at straws. There isn’t even a verb or a noun for me to start designing from! This is the first time I’ve had such a tiny sentence to work from, and I’m not entirely certain how I’m going to manage to make a game inspired by this.
But luckily, I’m not allowed to think about it tonight anyway, and so I won’t. Game in a Week #8 begins in earnest tomorrow. Come, Watson; the game is afoot!
The final game will be posted in this space before June 20th.