Developer: JohnLee Cooper
Launcher Quote: “CASSIUS
I could be well moved, if I was as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star.
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; ’tis furnish’d well with men,
And men are flesh, and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish’d,
And constant do remain to keep him so.
O Caesar —
Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?
The Ides of March is known as one of the most famous dates in literary history, precisely for what is depicted in the game and launcher quote – it was a day of upheaval and betrayal as Julius Caesar is stabbed to death by Brutus and his co-conspirators. Like with anything, learning about this scene as it is presented in Shakespeare can be done in a variety of ways. There’s the traditional way, through reading and listening to lecture, or looking over notes in a syllabus. There’s non-traditional ways, such as watching films or interpretations of the text through films, acting out the scene, or taking a field trip to a relevant place to learn more about the context of the scene. But most importantly, there is context for learning.
The depiction of a class environment in the game, with a projector and a changing scene once you figure out how to show it, is just one other way to learn. Visual depictions and presentations are among some of the most engaging yet still somewhat traditional ways to learn about something, and I think they work great for the express purpose of being able to better tell students how to visualize something as well as read about it. When I did my own work with students, making sure that they had something to engage them visually helped the event stick in their minds for later.
An unintended (I suspect) effect of this game is that if you choose to walk out the door, the game ends. There’s a lot of meaning to this potentially on a variety of levels. One would be that you’re ready to move on from learning what you’re supposed to from Caesar’s betrayal and are ready to apply it in the real world, thus not needing the classroom any longer. Another would be that rejecting the value of what is being learned is not a good thing, and that the consequences of that are to remain ignorant, and therefore not be in as good of a place to learn from the history (even as depicted in plays) that is so important and vital for us to be better as a society. Either way, whether intended or not, the choice of education and what you decide to do with what you’ve learned is a choice that can’t be saved or re-loaded, and should absolutely be taken seriously – especially in the case of learning from the mistakes of both Caesar and Brutus.