Taking Jane Austen in your stride

I was browsing through the App Store recently and found a new app called Stride & Prejudice – an endless running game with a difference. Instead of traversing through jungle lands collecting coins, or jumping across rooftops to escape the cops, this one is far more simple. You’re a lady in a nice frock, running and jumping across the text of Pride & Prejudice. Makes sense, right?

It’s primitive in its design, and could certainly do with a polish around the edges, but it only aims to do one job and it does that pretty well. The real question is: who is going to play a game like this?


It looks like it’s aimed at kids, which makes sense, because there’s so much talk about the younger generation not having long attention spans, getting them to read a full book must be hard. Instead, get them to play a game and they can ingest a book as a secondary function.

I found it quite hard to really take in the words, though, and something like Jane Austen requires semi-serious concentration. The only real benefit to the game from my point of view was that it was quite fun to see the percentage go up, and I definitely felt like I wanted to get to 1% before giving up. As always, for me, goals and achievements make things just that little bit more enticing.

So perhaps it’s aimed at those who have read the book already and want a new way to enjoy it? Once I got into the rhythm of the game and started to remember the book, it certainly got easier, but if I’m honest, it also got more boring. I really felt like I’d rather just put the game down and crack open the ebook instead, so I could . Maybe it’s just a sneaky little marketing tool in that sense?

Of course, these options could all be wrong and the real answer is that it was made because someone thought it’d be fun. And it is that, it’s unique and interesting. Novel, in fact! It certainly feels like a one-off style of app. I can’t imagine many more novels would work in the same way. I couldn’t deal with Shakespeare whilst also concentrating on tapping the screen at the right time. Then again, there are few times I can actually deal with Shakespeare anyway.

There’s no harm in taking a much loved classic and remixing it in a new style, opening it up to a potential new audience – if only one person gets to the end of the book where they’ve previously failed, then perhaps it’s a good thing.