Friday, April 10, 2015

Can Video Games make you a Better Swordfighter?

A Brief History
Looking at video games through the ages, you most likely wouldn't think they would become the media giant it is in the market today. From 8-bit pong to old school Legend of Zelda for the NES, we've seen a lot of growth. From then to now, the growth and development is staggering. We now have games featuring motion controls and movement tracking cameras built into the games and systems. It then leads you to wonder, "Will it make me better at this in real life?"

Video Games into Real Life
Today, the gaming market is saturated with games featuring some form of combat system, be it turn-based or Mortal Kombat-esque fighting rounds. If you wanted to look for a game to improve upon your sword fighting skills, you need not look any further than the selection of games the Wii and Wii U provide today.

When the Wii first came out, a game called Red Steel was featured in the different gaming and technology conferences. The videos showed a real person wielding a Wii-mote on stage, and a first person look at a pair of hands holding a sword on screen, hands which mimicked the actions of the person on stage. While this was still when the motion controls were not quite as refined as they are now, this was an amazing breakthrough for gamer-kind. In my own experiences with it, I noticed the sword movements, and the defense movements you could make when you coupled the Wii-mote with its peripheral, called the Wii nun-chuk, and actions you could invoke on screen did indeed mimic those taught to me in my few years of Tae-Kwon-Do weapons classes. Another game for the Wii that had some realistic sword fighting aspects is No More Heroes. This game is more comical in its art style and content, but the same principle applies. You hold in your hand a Wii-mote, and your character on screen will recreate your movements. This game came out a bit later on in the Wii's life, and it shows. Your movements are read much better and the action on screen isn't limited to only a few moves programmed in the game. The movements made on screen weren't quite as true to legitimate fighting styles, but I believe that to be part of how you, as a player, learned better control and move execution. 

Am I a True Swordsman Now?
Does this mean you could substitute such games for actual classes in self-defense and fighting? Of course not, but if you were looking for something a little more engaging than sword fighting yourself in the mirror, picking up a few Wii video games could be a welcome break.

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