Haiku Hero

By: Derek Yu

On: October 4th, 2010

Haiku Hero by Paper Dino

Haiku Hero is a game by Montoli/Paper Dino where you write haikus – three-line poems consisting of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. There are three modes: a Deadline mode where you write as many haikus as you can in 5 minutes, a Survival mode where “good” haikus earn you more time, and a peaceful Endless mode where you can take your time and drink tea or rake sand gardens or whatever inspires you. The game determines whether your haiku is good based on whether you followed the 5-7-5 structure and whether you fulfilled the challenges that it set out for you based on one of three difficulty settings (e.g. “Use at least one word with 3 syllables.”).

It’s really quite fun, and I was surprised by how well the game was able to recognize fake, overused, or (for certain challenges) non-rhyming words. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to decide whether you wrote a truly awesome poem, which is why a multiplayer version of Haiku Hero or an easy way to see other people’s haikus would be great. Also, for a game about such a delicate artform, I was pretty unimpressed with the presentation, which, while serviceable, is kind of ham-fisted.

TIGdb: Entry for Haiku Hero

  • Phubans

    At first I read that as Rinku Hero… Dammit. He's infected my brain!!

  • http://nostalgium.com Roo

    “Deadline mode”, lol.

    Also this is the second time today we heard “ham-fisted.”

  • AlexRohr

    Totally should have a mode where (if multi-player existed) you have, say, a group of 8 people, competing, make haikus in say a minute (with or whithout rules – whichever) after, the eight are presented all together (anonymously) and everyone votes for their favorite – person with the most votes for their poem wins. Reminiscent of an apples-to-apples concept, sort of….

  • Glrrk

    seriously, multiplayer would catapult this game from “quirky concept” to “ingenious time waster”

  • bateleur

    Haiku are easy,
    As for my review of this:
    Cave Story ripoff.

  • gantry

    @AlexRohr: Did you ever play Acrophobia? The version I played was an almost-browser-based game launched in '97 by the You Don't Know Jack guys. Each round, the group built backronyms for an acronym, and anonymous votes determined the winner. It's pretty close to your suggestion.

  • Bob

    The 5-7-5 structure is an american invention, so we'd have something structured to teach to elementary school students.

  • anthonyflack


    From what I can ascertain, the traditional Japanese haiku also follows the 5-7-5 structure, although this refers to the number of mora, rather than syllables. Which is a relevant distinction in Japanese (eg the word “nan” contains two mora, “na-n” but only one syllable) but in English the use of syllables is a reasonable substitute, insofar as it is reasonable to attempt to replicate haiku form in English at all.