Yes, this is real. And kind of awesome.
Cello Fortress is a game that allows up to four players to take on a live cellist, who–in some kind of Final Fantasy boss moment–uses the power of classical music to wreck havoc across the battlefield.
In the Cello Fortress video below, Joost van Dongen, cellist, indie game developer, and creator of Proun and Cello Fortress, takes on players using twin-stick shooter game controls by playing certain speeds or melodies to accomplish special attacks and commands.
Dongen also believes that Cello Fortress shouldn’t be treated as a simple music gimmick: playing well just for the sake of playing good music is just as important as destroying enemies.
“The challenge is to not only control the game in the right way, but also play good music while doing so,” Dongen says. “Just quickly skipping between the various attacks would result in horrible music, so I really need to think ahead a bit and make the music flow fluently from attack to attack. Add to this that it is all improvised, which means that I need to come up with the melodies while playing, and it becomes clear what a challenge this game is for the cellist. The result works brilliantly: playing, hearing and seeing Cello Fortress in action is quite a show!“
Cello Fortress is currently touring, while the game itself is still being developed and improved further. For more information, check out the trailer below, the Cello Fortress website, development blog, and Dongen’s blogspot page.
I guess it’s time to dust off your high school orchestra cello and get gaming.