Okay, I don't really want to give this thing any free advertising, but we got a flyer for "Macbeth: The Video Game Remix," a play going on this weekend as a part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The description alone would keep any self-respecting gamer from seeing the show.

According to the back of the card, the play's plot can be summed up like so:

"Scotland is pwned as Shakespeare’s classic tale of treachery and bloody revenge warps into an online world of group raids, elf assassins, and multiplayer quests. It’s the story of a n00b destined to be king…if he can ever make it past the first level."

I'll admit that Macbeth is one of my favorite plays, but this is mainly insulting because I'm a gamer, not because I was an English major. Fact: words like "n00b" and "pwned" are what non-gamers say to appear in-the-know. They only show up on marketing materials for movies, food, and accessories that companies hope gamers will buy.

Using those perceived gamer-words (along with similar fake words like "leet," "uber," and "epic fail") sounds exactly like when a lame parent misuses some piece of slang in a weak attempt to sound hip. It's obvious and painful, and a giant red flag indicating that the people involved don't know the first thing about games. At Ubisoft's E3 press conference this year, Mr. Caffeine exuded this phoniness. I hated him.

Granted, I haven't seen this show, so I can't actually speak to its quality. But that's not what this is about; it's about the fact that I have no desire to see the show because of how false the gamer-cred appeal rings to me.

If any of you Twin Cities residents get out to the Fringe Festival this weekend, I'd love to hear your reviews of this play. I'll tell you what, though: From the description, I bet it sucks.

UPDATE: The director of the show, Bill Stiteler, posted in the comments below. Since I was admittedly harsh in the post above, I figure that it's only fair to have both perspectives represented, so I'm putting his response here.

I should probably respond to this since I'm the co-writer and director of the play.

To begin, you can read the reviews of the play here:


And the reaction from people who identify themselves as gamers is, by and large, that they love the play. Both my co-writer and I are huge nerds and gamers, and wrote it to reflect, in a humorous but accurate way, gamer culture. One of the things that drives me nuts is when shows get nerd culture wrong.

That I used "n00b" and "pwned" in the advertising (which I wrote) is because I still see them used in-game, and *because* they're entering the general vocabulary, letting both hardcore and casual gamers (along with the people who live with them) know what the play is about. Strangely, one of the criticisms we've been getting is that if you're *not* in gamer culture, you won't get some of the jokes.

In all sincerity, I think this is a great show. If you'd like to see it, Mr. Juba, we have three more shows (Thurs. Fri. and Sun.) If you'd like to come see it, let me know and I'll arrange comps. I gave you friend the postcard for the show because after a long chat with her about her friends, I honestly thought they'd be interested.