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Hands-on: The Path of Go (XBLA)

Kevin Kelly

Ready to frustrate yourself forever? Learn the game of Go. It's an ancient Chinese game that's over four thousand years old, and games can last up to 16 hours in tournaments. Sounds just perfect for an adaptation into the frenetic world of video games, right?! Well, your wish is granted. The Path of Go or How We Came Up With A Proprietary Name For The Public Domain Game of Go is being developed in-house by Microsoft at the likewise excitingly named Microsoft Research Cambridge division.

We played the game briefly at GDC, and it's actually very robust. It includes a tutorial where your avatar has some faux back and forth dialogue with an ancient Go master, in which he really does teach you the game. I tried reading an old instruction manual for a set of Go I found at a thrift shop once, and was so confused by terms like "ko" and proper stone placement that I just re-thrifted the set. Now, I'm ready to take on Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind and kick his ass.

Additionally, the game features single player or two player both locally and through Xbox Live, multiple backgrounds, and full 3D environments where you can control the camera. There's also an actual story mode in here, where you learn the nuances of the game in "beat the situation" scenarios while heading down a path. The ... wait for it ... Path of Go.

Gallery: The Path of Go (XBLA) | 14 Photos

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