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Why Nidhogg's creator chased 'the slow game'

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The fighting in Nidhogg, developer Mark Essen's recently released fencing game, is designed around what he called "the slow game" in an interview with Venus Patrol.

First shown years ago, Essen said his goal was "for the game to be taken seriously as a fighting game," so he took it to fighting game tournaments like Evo and other venues like the XOXO conference. Unlike its often quick-paced contemporaries, Nidhigg is designed to be slower and more deliberate.

"Nidhogg is all about the slow game — getting your opponent to make the first move," Essen said. "There have been a few games like this, and probably even more that I haven't played — the best example is Bushido Blade, but I find the controls pretty clunky. I've spent a lot of time on the 'game feel' in Nidhogg."

As such, he designed the fighting game's moves to be rewarding for both players and spectators.

"The moveset has been tweaked a lot too — melee makes more sense, and spectators can actually follow what's going on. There are new moves like the divekick, cartwheel and melee finishers — divekicks are great for taking the high ground and making you less vulnerable in the air. You can grab onto ledges if you barely miss a jump — and be sweep-kicked off them if you don't move. You can run up and kick off a wall if you're cornered and need some distance — lots of little things like that."

Nidhogg was released earlier this week for Windows PC. You can pick it up for $11.99 on Steam, a 20 percent discount off of its $14.99 price until Jan. 20.