English Major RPG


Welcome to English Major RPG!

Press Enter to begin Level 1

>> [ENTER]

You are in a long corridor. All around you is blackness and a foul-smelling odor. You feel dankness and something sticky on the ground. Ahead is a single white dot of light.

What would you like to do?

>> Walk to LIGHT

The world comes into focus. You are passed out on the quad of STATE SCHOOL, soaked in your own urine. The urge to vomit is coming upon you. URGE TO VOMIT attacks!

>> Use HAND

VOMIT wins, and leaves your hand disabled with its toxin attack! A student passing by is slightly sprayed.

>> Run like a coward

You run like a coward, and crash into a pair of students walking down the path. You recognize them from that one class – one is the fat kid with the wild curly hair who is always referencing poets from the 60s, and the other is that one really skinny girl who always wears black clothes and writes poems about nature.

>> Flirt

“That shirt is very becoming,” you tell the fat kid. “If I was on you, I’d be coming too.”

>> Undo

You start to undo your pants.

>> Stop undoing pants

“Hey, you’re that guy from class,” the fat kid says. “We’re out putting up flyers and chalking the quad for the student literary magazine. You should submit something!”

Do you accept the Quest: Write For The Student Literary Magazine?

>> Yes

The subcultural girl hands you Magic Pen. As you take it, it glows and fills you with warmth. The ancient symbol on it lights up.

You have accepted the quest WRITE FOR THE STUDENT LITERARY MAGAZINE. The magazine is currently looking for SHORT FICTION.

>> Write story

Choose a subject for your awkward student short fiction:

A) Partying
B) Abortion
C) Vampires / Werewolves / Aliens / Smarmy descriptions of many drama-filled college relationships in a hip narrative voice that implies you wear girl’s jeans

>> C

About how long ago did this poorly veiled autobiographical story happen to you?

>> It didn’t happen to me.

In what place did this poorly veiled autobiographical story happen to you?

>> My creative story is not autobiographical!

Where would you like to take your many fictions?


Filled with pride at authorship, you walk to the meeting with visions of smoking cigarettes with other literary figures in Paris and sharing your philosophies about the difference between truth and Truth in lecture halls. A group of cute girls are planning fundraisers and magazine design layouts.

>> TALK TO cute girls

The cute girls do not want to talk to you.

>> ABANDON career.

By abandoning your writing career during Freshman year of college, you are 2 years ahead of most students. +500 points!


As you walk out the door, MAGIC PEN begins to vibrate. You pull it out of your pocket and it begins to glow brighter than the sun! You are teleported to the depths of the ancient and forboding hellscape land of Therie!


You are in an ancient tomb. There is no light save for two faintly flickering torches hung upon the wall. There appears to be no exit and if you do not figure out a way out you will surely die. The walls are lined with endless artifacts, stacked one upon the other and in each one is a manuscript of papers. In the corner, is the body of THE AUTHOR. THE AUTHOR is dead.

>> PUNCH walls

You beat your fists to a useless pulp.

>> Kick AUTHOR

The Author is dead.


It is a fairly lucid indictment of the current free market state that aligns those with the most agency within our economic system in direct competitive opposition to the best interests of the disenfranchised majority, which makes it inherently beneficial for those who manage commodities to exploit the very citizens whose labor makes their wealth possible as well as maintain their ignorance of the situation and advocates instead for a highly-regulated market organization that distributes resources where they are most urgently needed.

>> But isn’t that punishing the most successful for their success?


He attacks with THE NOVEL!

>> Fight back!

You draw MAGIC PEN and stab THE NOVEL.

The Novel is dead!

>> Attack Author

You use AD HOMINEM ATTACK. +10 damage!

The author turns his words into an ARTIFACT. He throws it at you!

>> Block!

Reminder: Your commands must be in the form of VERB – OBJECT

>> REIFICATE artifact

You reconceptualize the material artifact according to its value within the market forces rather than the effort and meaning of its creation, dehumanizing its labor and creator!

The Author’s shields are down!

>> Separate the semiotic sign of the Author’s attacks from the signified of their meanings

The arbitrary relationship between the words of the Author’s attacks and the real-world things they denote breaks down!

The Author’s armor disappears!

>> Deconstruct AUTHOR

As contradictions now apparent and inescapable in the very meaning of the walls wrench themselves / each other apart, The Author screams the dying scream of a million tortured souls wrenched and disemboweled!

The Author is dead.

>> Walk out through walls / non-walls

You awaken to the sounds of acoustic guitar.

“You’ve passed the test,” the skinny girl in black says. She is standing over your booth in the TRENDY CAFE. The fat kid sits across from you and extends his hand to shake yours. The place is filled with other students, many of whom you recognize from classes you are taking. Copies of the literary magazine are scattered around the tables and a banner underneath reads MAGAZINE LAUNCH PARTY. At one side, a pair of guys are playing sensitive music surrounded by cute girls. “We had to make sure you were a True Believer. A lot of people just choose English as a major because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives, and skate by because the standards aren’t very rigorous.”

You have successfully completed the quest! +500 self-importance!

The sensitive song fills you with pride.

>> TALK TO cute girls

The cute girls do not want to talk to you.

>> ABANDON major

The above was a piece I wrote about 2 1/2 years ago and got politely rejected by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency with a compliment attached, so I treasured it and share it now, being basically even better than a success.


110 thoughts on “English Major RPG

  1. “As you walk out the door, MAGIC PEN begins to vibrate. You pull it out of your pocket and it begins to glow brighter than the sun! You are teleported to the depths of the ancient and forboding hellscape land of Therie!


    Redundancy, the folly of horny undergrad writers.

  2. Rotflmmfao!!! This is awesome! This also takes me back to my childhood when I would play Akalabeth and Fracas on the Apple IIc and Zork and Enchanter on my Commodore 64!!!! Killer, killer job, dude!

  3. awesomely creative. this should be a real game. would get many to pay attention to the world of literature if they haven’t already.

  4. As an author everything is possible just not probable. We are only limited by the imagination of the gray matter in our skulls. Therefore I know you are reading this with either, contempt, interest or your pants unzipped.

  5. Very entertaining. It’s funny, because everyone just assumes I was majoring/majored in English since I liked to write. Everyone always assumes that. I majored in Psychology. But then, there’s ways that every major can relate to each other. There were many, many people in psych just because they knew someone, perhaps themselves, with what they were certain was a psychological disorder. And that’s what I like most about this tale, aside from the style in which it is written, is even though I wasn’t actually an English major, I understand the need to pass the test, to be majoring for a reason, a real reason, not just some arbitrary bullcrap that everyone uses for their “reason”.

    • I feels you, Rii the Wordsmith. It’s hard to be a college student looking for your “calling.” The only thing worse is to be done with college and STILL looking for your “calling,” which is pretty much what we all end up doing.

  6. >>Start blog.

    You receive little interest on day one, despite the loving care implemented and English degree skills.

    >>Review first blog to catch interest.

    You are rewarded with clever tale, and you find first blog you want to follow.

  7. Bad idea to be eating yogurt with sunflower seeds and crushed pecans while reading your stuff for the first time. The spit-take when reaching that “Flirt/”Undo” pairing was truly an ugly sight.

    Smart, funny. Enjoyed myself. Thank you! Now please come and clean up my keyboard.

      • Was that a… It couldn’t possibly have been… A teensy smack of snark in that “I’m self-actualized now.”? No. That could be suspected only if snarkiness were to be found trip-trapping over your other pieces. Anyone accusing you of being sarcastically ungracious to someone complimenting him would be quite the troll.

  8. Clever. It certainly reminds me of my days as an undergrad English major. I miss the days getting lost in the stack of the grad library, slightly delirious from the heady aroma of musty paper. At least…I think it was musty paper.

    I actually didn’t get along with most of the other English majors I knew. I tended to hang around with the nuclear engineers and the pre-med extroverts (ha ha).

    What strikes me as the best decision I ever made was to avoid the literary magazines and stick to the humor magazines. Humor is exceedingly difficult to write when your audience expects more than the go-to fart joke. There was also some point when I achieved English major nirvana and realized how utterly, transcendentally preposterous the enterprise of creative writing can be.

    And yet, I love every single minute of it.

  9. I posted a comment that didn’t reply to the post at all, but just linked to my own website for no reason, and that’s not the way comments work so the blog owner edited it into this to shame me.

  10. Jeshua

    Excellent intriguing work – Keep at it man. Remember “The Beatles” were rejected several times before being signed by a major record label, and Even that doyenne of teen-lit – J. K. Rowling was rejected apparently about 14 times. Last I heard, she was worth about £145million (circa $200m)

    However, please also remember the following:

    >>> Film > Pen > Sword! (Truism) – :-/


  11. oh God, I totally get this. I did my BA in English, then an MA! Love the RPG take though, that’s so creative. I was picturing a Zelda or FF character walking around the whole time hahaha.

Holla back, girl

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