Readers of a … certain age. Will remember. The way William … Shatner. Used to talk. On Star Trek. Few of you will have … wished to make poetry that sounds. Like. That. On your iPhones. But now … you. Can. My God, Bones. My God.
(OK, that’s quite enough Shatnerspeak for the time being. I was going to write the whole post that way but ugh, I can’t stand it.)
The app we’re talking about today is Shatoetry, and no I’m not kidding about the name. It’s really called that. Shatner plus poetry, see, geddit? Oh, the laughs they must have had dreaming that one up.
Name aside, this app is ingenious, original, and weird. Perhaps not three bucks worth of weird, mind you. But weird is good on the App Store, in my opinion. Weird stands out.
What you get here is a selection of words spoken (in varying tones) by Shatner himself. Drag them into position one at a time, like making fridge poetry. Then tap the “Shat that!” button – yes, it’s called “Shat that!” – and Shatner speaks your poetry out loud.
You can vary the results by inserting Shatner-esque pauses, or tapping on individual words to enlarge them. Shatner will give these more emphasis. They’ll be more Shatnery.
The whole thing is filled with sound effects. They sound like they’ve all been made by mouth, Bobby McFerrin style. They’re hilarious.
The sharing options have been done well. You can export your, um, Shatoems as plain old pictures, or as videos sent to YouTube.
The selection of words on offer is pretty good, and there’s a search function to help you get to the one you want.
Shatoetry is fun to play with, but like a lot of joke entertainment apps, the joke wears thin fairly quickly. The makers of this app have attempted to get round that by adding a game element (complete with Game Center connections). You can co-create Shatoems by simply passing your phone among friends, or by finding a fellow Shatner fan online.
Even so, you have to be quite keen to get your money’s worth out of this. The appeal is going to be quite limited, perhaps to same few people who have bought Shatner’s music in recent years. (Although that cover of “Common People” he did with Joe Jackson was a moment of genius.)
I suspect the younger generation will be left scratching their heads. Who the hell is this crazy old man speaking words out loud? Older users will know better. That weird old man is Captain James T Kirk. Captain. Of the Starship … Enterprise. Boldly going. Always, boldly going.