There’s an app that let’s you create poems and have them read by William Shatner. I’m going to let that sink in, because yes, it is just that good. While it’s hard to see where the Shat doing what the Shat does could go wrong, I felt some trepidation launching Shatoetry for the first time.
Is there more to William Shatner’s new app than just hearing William Shatner say really funny things? To be honest, not really, but if a Shatner poetry slam is wrong, I know I don’t want to be right.
If you’ve ever had one of those refrigerator magnetic poetry sets or just messed around with your friend’s while you were supposed to be getting more ice, Shatoetry really works the same way. Grab semi-random words, throw them up on the wall, and make a funny little poem about pebbles or robots or robots walking on pebbles. Except in this case, the wall is a picture of William Shatner’s face, and at some point, he’s going to read your poem out loud.
All of your words are underneath the legendary Captain Kirk, and you can scroll back and forth to find the right word for your poem. Drag words up onto the poetry wall and arrange them to make your poem. Placement is important, because no matter the left and right order, if a word is the slightest bit above another, it’s getting read first.
If you find you’re running out of words, tap More Words to get a new batch. Do that enough times, and you’ll realize you’re not always getting new words, but a jumble of new and old. That worked for me, because staring at the same twelve words side by side for ten different poems could start to limit your creativity. If there’s a word you really need but can’t find, tap More and then Find to search all the words or scroll through a comprehensive list.
There are a couple of ways to improve or customize T.J. Hooker’s reading of your poem. Insert ellipses to add pauses at key moments, or really draw out the dramatic tension by adding two or three in a row. Tapping or double tapping a word will make it bigger and change Shatner’s inflections as he reads. Shatoetry comes with three different readings for each word, and you can play around with the various choices to get just the right amount of drama for your poem.
When you’ve got your poem exactly how you want it, tap Shat That! William Shatner will read your poem aloud, as many times as you want. It’s sort of amazing. If you’ve created something truly special, you can save it as a video to your iPhone and treasure it forever.
Spread That Around
Your shatoems aren’t just for you, though. Via the Share button, you can also email your Shatoetry videos to friends or upload them to YouTube. There’s also Facebook and Twitter sharing, but rather than just uploading to your default Twitter video service or directly to Facebook, you’ll first have to put the video on YouTube. This required more logging in than I was really prepared for, especially since I’m using Google 2-step verification.
To get around all of this, I found myself saving the video to my phone and then uploading it via the service’s iOS app. Not a difficult or drawn out process, but it added a step that seemed unnecessary. Still, the ability to save my Shatner poems wasn’t something I’d expected to be able to do at all, so the means to bomb my friends’ walls and timelines with words of wisdom from the Shat is really just gravy.
Shatoetry With Friends
Send your friends enough shatisms, and you might get them to start writing poems with you. That’s right, there’s a multiplayer! If you get lonely and want to play with a fellow shatoet, there are two ways to go: online and “pass around.”
The online version allows you to either invite a friend via Game Center or be matched up with a random player looking for some Shatoetry fun. Offline play lets you create poems with a friend or maybe an enemy–I won’t judge if you use William Shatner slam poetry to solve your argument– in the same room by passing your phone back and forth. Each round is timed, but the timer doesn’t start until you’re ready. There isn’t really any scoring, so we all come out winners playing Shatoetry.
There aren’t a whole lot of words available, but there are fun ones you can combine to make William Shatner say some really silly things. I’d like to see a downloadable pack of bonus words, but right now, there isn’t even anything available via in-app purchase, so you’re stuck with the vocabulary you’ve got.
That’s probably the one con. Everything else is just about as good as it could be. You can change the background image, making Shatner look thoughtful or silly or just a bit sad to fit your poem. Every button you tap seems to have its own sound effect, and they don’t stop being amusing, especially the backup singers sound of the “Shat that!” button.
Shatoetry really seems like an app where they didn’t miss a beat, and no detail was overlooked. Even if you’re not particularly a fan of William Shatner’s, this app is amazing for its full throttle devotion to kitsch and an aging star’s willingness to poke fun at himself with a wink and a smile. Shatoetry manages to deliver on so many levels, creating a surprisingly fun app.