So I was in the iTunes app store looking around, and got all excited about a game I saw featured “New and Noteworthy” section called Assault Comma. See it there? To the right, promising grenades and punctuation?! I was all set to plunk down my 99¢.
Sadly, the title was cut off, and the game is actually Assault Commando, and when I realized that, I lost all interest and consoled myself browsing among productivity tools I will never actually use but make me feel hopeful about creating order in a chaotic universe. I think this says pretty much everything about me that you need to know.
I had to laugh at myself for actually believing there would be an action game based on a punctuation mark, so I made fun of my nerdiness by confessing this on Facebook. But then I got an outpouring of responses from amused writer friends who would totally buy an app called Assault Comma — no matter what it actually did. Which makes me think there’s a huge untapped market of games for nerdy book lovers and writer-types. Are you listening, developers?
My vision of Assault Comma would be a game where you’d have to get commas into the right places and zap them from the wrong places, with points for speed and daring. Kate Messner suggested a quest version of the game, with the subtitle, “A Copyediting Odyssey.” Both would be more fun than they sound, honest. If you, you know, like commas.
Hahahahaha! Perfect. I would pay a buck for that, especially if the signs were from real photos found around the world. GoogleMaps could get involved; players would learn the geography of all the worst apostrophe offenders, so it would be educational as well as hilarious.
MJ’s game sparked for me a natural spin-off: Quotation Qwitter, a flight simulator game where you zoom in and blast all the quote marks off signs like EVERYTHING “ON SALE” TODAY! or WE USE “REAL” CHEESE.
Chronicle Books might want to hop on this one, since they just published The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation by Bethany Keeley, based on her Unnecessary Quotes web site.
Searching for images to include in this ShelfTalker post led me to all kinds of funny websites—which led me to yet more. The English Fail Blog has a great blog roll (a list of blogs they follow, with links). Each one is a perfect procrastination tool for writers.
Which is why I wanted Assault Comma in the first place: as a fun way to waste time. And really, that’s what all writers want. Most of us will readily admit it, and shell out (pennies, if not big bucks) to get it. Game developers: you have a captive, easily lured audience here. Bring us our nerdy game’s, and we will “flock,” to them.