Plenty of Olympic events have inspired their own video games over the decades. Well-established stars with franchises of their own like Mario and Sonic have made a habit of putting out Olympic-themed games, including this year’s Mario & Sonic At The Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Still, certain events have gone overlooked. One glaring example is equestrian dressage. There are very few decent dressage games on the market today, largely because few outside the sport know what the hell it even is. In the broadest terms, this event requires the horse and rider to perform a series of predetermined movements in an arena, with the horse transitioning smoothly between different paces, including walk, trot, and canter.
Does that all sound terrifically, almost perversely boring, as well as impossible to translate to a video game? Well, not anymore. As part of its extensive Olympic coverage, Super Deluxe has released a new video entitled “Extreme Horsing: Hardcore Equestrian Dressage.” Here, dressage becomes a heart-pounding, nerve-jangling experience, complete with points for administering “tiny slaps” to one’s horse.
“Extreme Horsing” is the latest, crazed creation of video editor and A.V. Club contributor Dominick Nero, who builds intense drama out of one of the most stately and ostentatious of all Olympic events. The secret here is that virtually everything the horses and riders do is being judged and ranked. In this world, an “advanced bow” from a rider can earn 100 points, but an unscheduled “horse wobble” can mean a 500-point deduction. Just look at the agonized expression on this fierce competitor. She knows what that wobble meant.
Nero has also found room for crossover opportunities with other, perhaps more popular sports. By the end of the video, the horses are dodging arrows from the archery competition and swallowing errant ping-pong balls. One never knows what will happen in equestrian dressage. That’s the beauty of this noble sport.