Renga, The Shooter Video Game Played By A Hive Mind

By Spencer . October 8, 2012 . 3:10pm

Renga is a unique game (maybe experience is a better word?) because it involves a hundred people playing with laser pointers. Wallfour brought Renga to Indiecade and the game starts with players scrambling to pilot a ship. The ship has four arrows on it and if a laser pointer touches one of them the ship moves. Meanwhile, pentagons come in to attack your Harvester and players working as a group have to touch the pentagons on five points at the same time to destroy it.




After players get the hang of the controls, a giant boss spews projectiles at the ship and totally wrecks it. The main game begins where players fight wave after wave of hexagons to earn blocks. You use these blocks to build your ship by attaching an engine or a silo so the ship can capture more blocks. Levels get tougher by introducing enemies with more points to laser and Metroid-like creatures that require all players to drop what they’re doing to attack these explosive blobs.


What’s interesting about Renga is without any verbal communication players, for the most part, got better at working together. The audience applauded as enemies were shot down faster and paths to launch engines were built with more precision. Well, there were some exceptions. When it was time to place blocks I think a few players tried to "troll" the group by placing blocks that didn’t create a path to a goal (like a new Harvester) and put them in the middle of nowhere.


Renga ended like most shooters do – with a giant boss battle. All of the players had to work together here to control the ship, diffuse polygons that were floating towards the ship, and to target the dozens of "hot spots" on the boss to destroy it. The proverbial "hive mind" won the battle and everyone roared with excitement.

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  • Luis Camargo

    Amazing concept, but a little difficult to be brought to PC or consoles for that matter. Unless they do a online mode or something like that.

  • Mazdian

    Very interesting, especially how they learned to work together more efficiently. 

    … Woah. IDEA EXPLOSION!!!

    Just had an interesting thought for a game, what if someone adapted a similar system but had you playing as a single ant in a hive? First generation ants (players) are assigned a class (worker, drone, etc.) by the AI Queen. Each class would have different responsibilities, e.g. workers scout out food, carriers  transport materials, soldiers fight and defend, ranchers take care of aphids, etc. Caretakers would be responsible for taking care of the second generation and assigning classes to the players who would be joining the hive as 2nd gen; this would continue for each generation of players (3rd gen caretakers assign 4th gen, 4th gen caretakers assign 5th). No system to tell caretakers what to assign, they have to take assessment of hive’s numbers of each class and make a decision.

    Hives have levels and will take xp to level up and unlock bigger nests, allow more players at once, more job classes.

    Persistent world with global servers so people around the world could play together (Journey like game). Communication is only to physical cues and pheromones (like Demon’s souls perhaps?).

    Separate competing hives all in one big stage. Can run raids on other enemy hives and take slaves. Environment based challenges as well, such as rain storms, extreme heat or cold, snow.

    Open world. Day and night cycle where night is extremely dangerous and dark like Dragon’s Dogma. Brutal combat and punishing world ala Demon’s Souls. RPG elements where you can select skills and level up your assigned class. Your ant will only last 3 real world days at which point you’re forced to start over as a new ant. Certain skills and stats carry over? Once you max everything, you can become queen ant on next ant life and attempt to separate and form your own colony on Mating day?

    Enemies would consist of other ants (same and different species), spiders, bugs, and other creatures (humans who use poison on your hive?).

    Two modes? Army ant in which your colony will have to stay on the move and deal with extreme jungle conditions and anthill where you can settle and defend.

    AI raids. Players can also choose to play as other insects and attempt to hurt colonies (like Agent hunt or black phantoms). For example, spiders that mimic ants can infiltrate colonies and perform sabotage (stealth gameplay). Other playable hive based insects, i.e. terminates and bees, to compete with ants?

    Can form parties or solo play. Solo scouts can faster and easier time sneaking around. Parties can lead huge raids on bigger enemies like giant grasshoppers or cicadas (aerial battles while hanging on and try to weight down flyers with ants). Cling on battles like SOTC?. Enemies can be dismembered for certain materials like Monster Hunter (if then condition, e.g. carapace for armor means no meat for food?). Sacrifice play like in Soul Sacrifice, e.g. players can plug tunnels in nest with their bodies so as to slow raiding enemy players.

    … Whew. Don’t know what came over me. Thoughts? Is there a game like this out already? :D

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