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Bower Defence: It's Cello Fortress 

The diagram above and the video below are both proof of Cello Fortress, a multiplayer game where four players use tanks to attempt to break into a fortress protected by a cellist, is thing that is real. But I'm calling foul. What's more likely? That the maker of the pretty racing game Proun has managed to turn the music a cello creates into a gaming art show, or that John has created an elaborate series of blogs, websites, press releases, and even gone so far as to hire actors to video a concert to fake a game? And years from now, when everything is going well for me, he'll text me telling me it was all a joke to make me look slightly silly and I'll cry? He's done it before, and he'll do it again.

Ok. I'll go along with it. It's really rather lovely: a twin-stick shooter where the cellist's performance controls the type of defenses he puts up against the attackers. High notes produce guns, for example. His score is based on how well he improvises his music. The four players attempt to destroy his cannons. It's part concert, part art exhibition, and part game.

Cover image for YouTube video

Developer Joost "Oogst" van Dongen's devblog talks about the struggle it was to get the whole enterprise working together: "Cello Fortress is a complex project in several ways: playing cello so that it sounds good and controls the game is a big challenge and requires an experienced cellist and a lot of practice. Analysing what the cello plays is also technically very complex and has, as far as I know, never been done before in a computer game."

My 'John faked it' theory is looking pretty water-tight.

Of course if means you need to be in the right place at the right time to experience it. It's currently only scheduled to be shown in the Netherlands over 2013, but I bet it'll eventually pop up in international shows. As long as there's a cellist gamer in the world, the game will be playable.

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Cello Fortress



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Craig Pearson avatar

Craig Pearson


I love square sausage, cats, and climbing pretend rocks.