What it was

This was an idea that stems from an old story a friend told me back in High School. I have since tried to look that story up and have not been able to locate it until just now. It’s a story about Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) making arrangments for a duel with a Frenchmen. Here is an excerpt:

The next thing in order was the choice of weapons.
My principal said he was not feeling well, and would leave
that and the other details of the proposed meeting to me.
Therefore I wrote the following note and carried it to
M. Fourtou’s friend:

Sir: M. Gambetta accepts M. Fourtou’s challenge,
and authorizes me to propose Plessis-Piquet as the place
of meeting; tomorrow morning at daybreak as the time;
and axes as the weapons.

I am, sir, with great respect,

Mark Twain.

M. Fourtou’s friend read this note, and shuddered.
Then he turned to me, and said, with a suggestion of
severity in his tone:

“Have you considered, sir, what would be the inevitable
result of such a meeting as this?”

“Well, for instance, what WOULD it be?”


“That’s about the size of it,” I said. “Now, if it is
a fair question, what was your side proposing to shed?”

We had joked that “Axes at Two Paces” would be a sweet name for company. So of course, in college, we had to do logo studies and I made dinky little games. I make the logo and slapped it on all my games.

Then when were looking for ideas after forming the Hats, I had given some thought to making a fighting game about “Axes at two Paces.” With real time battle damage (Like my old Earthworm Jim action figure.) I couldn’t really figure it out technically and design wise so I didn’t give it much more thought.

–It’s worth noting at this point that I have no ability to retain historical fact within my skull. I believe most of the “facts” I have collected about history are from time-travel cartoons.

So then some random other day, I had a vision. It was of the presumed rivalry between Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison (Which I gathered from the movie, The Prestige.)  I saw them standing atop the Empire State Building at sunset. As the camera swooped in from a panoramic view of the city, it focused on the two rivals. They ripped their shirts off, revealing their hidden wrestler physiques. Finally, they approached each other for a grandiose fist-fight to rival that one fight in Metal Gear Solid 4.

(That got more erotic than I expected.)

Then I thought to myself it would be cool to take all the historical figures and their rivals and stick their heads on generic muscle bound bodies and make them fight.

Just for fun. Here is the roster I just came up with:

  • Thomas Edison vs. Nicola Tesla
  • Samuel Clemens vs. Theodore Roosevelt
  • Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis
  • Adolf Hitler vs. Winston Churchill
  • Albert Einstein vs. Niels Bohr
  • Edgar Allan Poe vs. Rufus Wilmot Griswold
  • Joseph Stalin vs. Leon Trotsky
  • Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr
  • Tycho Brahe vs. Nicolaus Reimers

Why it didn’t happen

Making a fighting game is really super hard. Now if I were to actually approach it, I would have developed a simple rock, paper, scissors system instead of something on the level of Street Fighter. But this would still be really challenging. The most challenging part of that would be delivering on the promise of a fighting game, but making it simplistic without arriving short on expectations.

But another issue here was that, in my mind, this game was beautiful. And if you have been keeping up with the Rejected Games posts, you’ll notice a trend here. We didn’t really have an artist.