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.

 

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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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