When you think “voracious reader of the classics” you don’t generally think at the same time “..and big game, toor!” And yet, that’s how I feel every time I open up Dear Reader.
Free with Apple Arcade, this fun, quippy, clever, and fairly challenging iOS game of literary wordplay essentially takes a library of classics — HG Wells, Kafka, Charlotte Perkins Glimore, Virginia Woolf — abridges them, then engages you in various games using the text. You may have to rearrange words, delete entire lines that seem out of place (that one is brutal when you’re doing Emily Dickinson!), or quickly click on misspelled words.
The faster you go and the fewer errors you make, the more ink drops you earn, which you then trade in for more books. (Yay for no in-app purchases, Apple Arcade!) You can also arrange your settings, should you want to play in “relaxed” or untimed mode, or challenge yourself with faster games that can earn you more ink.
I even think it’s a brilliant game to get tweens and teens interested in titles they might otherwise find intimidating.
It’s kind of cool to find myself so engaged with the abridged books in the game that I picked up The Yellow Wallpaper again (one of my all-time favorites!), and now I’m, getting ready to dig into The Age of Innocence, which I realize I have never actually read.
Bonus: This is one of the few games that make you feel smarter after you play. I can’t say that about Toy Blast.
One criticism, though: I’d really like to see more diverse authors represented among the classics in the main library, beyond Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay, and Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali. (I also think I caught A Raisin in the Sun among the limited time offer weekly book offers that keep you playing.) Alice Walker, Sojourner Truth, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez… I don’t know about the copyright negotiations, but it would make the games far more fun to have a lot more writing styles and voices represented.