PC Powerplay

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Mark Essen has a simple justification for initially leaving out an online multiplayer mode in Nidhogg: the tech was difficult to build and expensive to deploy. He did not have an army of netcode experts ready to squash bugs, reduce latency and seamlessly connect to servers. It was far more important to make sure the bow felt right.

“You’d need two computers, or you could possibly set it up on one computer on multiple windows,” says Essen, as he wistfully reflects on his halcyon days of wheeling the prototype of Nidhogg to every indie showcase in the whole world. “Just practically, it’s harder to make an online-only multiplayer game.”

You probably know what happened from there. Nidhogg finally arrived on Steam in the beginning of 2014 (with network play implemented) and immediately sparked a flashbulb consumer moment in gaming. Here was a 2D, one-versus-one sword-fighting simulator, with simple mechanics, a Luddite Atari 2600 art style, and

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