Jane Austen: The Facebook Game

What happens when social media and literature collide?

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BBC’s Digital Entertainment and Legacy Games division has launched a new Facebook game for ardent Austenophiles: Jane Austen: Rogues and Romance (tagline: “A Bygone World of Wit and Adventure”). Could this be a way for die-hard fans to finally put their vast knowledge of the works of Austen to good, if not productive, use?

Maybe not. The game rests on the premise that the characters Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy have fled the pages of Pride and Prejudice and their creator, Jane Austen, needs help tracking them down. Yes, it’s a little weird, but the rest of the game plays out like your typical Facebook game, requiring players to search for items and collect points and encouraging them to purchase gifts in the app. And while it does include countless references to Austen’s six novels — Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park — the actual gameplay is pretty tedious. Like Mr. Collins tedious, but without any of the absurdity which you can laugh at later.

So if you happen to love Facebook games, check it out. But if you just love Austen, we suggest you pick up your copy of Persuasion again.

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