Day 180: En Garde

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June 28, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

Video games are evolving, and nobody’s happier about that than me.  Don’t get me wrong, I spent a lot of my childhood looking forward to pressing buttons and jamming joysticks, but now that I’ve grown up a little (a little), I have a new appreciation for the power and potential of video games.  Games have the power to engage us unlike so many other forms of entertainment can.  Rather than being a passive observer or recipient of a finished good, games compel you to take responsibility and immerse yourself in the creative process – solving the mystery, finding the key, answering the riddle, finishing the story.  It’s that engagement that gives games the ability to unite fun with learning; in games, to think is necessary, which cannot be said of watching movies, TV or YouTube, or of listening to music, news or classroom lectures.  Lately, games have taken their engagement to the next level – evolving to become more immersive – enlisting the action of not only your thumbs and eyes, but your hands, feet, face and voice.  Today’s chapter is a fascinating new species in a rapidly-evolving ecosystem of alternative reality, fantasy and fun.  Also, swordplay.

CLANG is a game produced by people who apparently hate what games have done to swordplay.  Clicking a button or pulling a trigger just doesn’t do justice to the hacking, slashing, slicing and dicing of sword-wielding.  Now, though, that’s about to change.

In the last couple of years, affordable new gear has come on the market that makes it possible to move, and control a swordfighter’s actions, in a much more intuitive way than pulling a plastic trigger or pounding a key on a keyboard. So it’s time to step back, dump the tired conventions that have grown up around trigger-based sword games, and build something that will enable players to inhabit the mind, body, and world of a real swordfighter.

Button mashers relent!  No longer will haphazard finger frenzy be greeted with cheap wins!  Now, you’re going to have to flap and flail with both arms and legs in order to infuriate your skilled opponents.  Really, I think this is a neat innovation in gaming, and I’m really interested in seeing this pan out.  I’ve been disappointed by sword games before, but I have a feeling that Neal Stephenson and his crew of merry swordsmen are up to something truly special.  Sharpen your swords and get behind this game before July 9.


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