Want to skate on the Rideau Canal but don’t want to go outside?

Well, now there’s an app for that.

A group of Ottawa video game programmers have just released Bytown Skate and Brawl, a retro-racing game set on the world’s largest skate way.

And, yes, you read the name correctly. The game involves skating, racing… and punching.

“If you’re racing against a friend you can punch them to get them to slow down,” explains Ken Hughes of Jelly Smeared Games.

The game is very simple to play. Its design harkens back to the 8-bit games of the mid-eighties. But it’s not without some details that will appeal to anyone who’s skated on the canal, from well-known bridges and buildings right down to the picnic tables, pylons and trash cans dotting the ice. “We left out the holes and closed-off areas,” jokes Hughes.

Skaters on the actual Rideau Canal gave the game a warm reception. “Yeah, it was an alright game,” says Dylan MacLeod. “I think I saw the Pretoria Bridge in the background.”

“It was fun, but I didn’t want to punch him,” says Sue Jones after playing against her husband.

Larry Jones says they’d probably download it… if they had a smart phone. “If they had it for the flip phones we would get if for sure,” he laughs.

It’s retro, but not that retro.

Bytown Skate and Brawl is free to download on IOS and Android devices. There is an ad before every play, but you can choose to skip them. Keep in mind, however, if you watch the ad or, better yet, click on it, you will send a few cents the developers’ way.

While it might not compare to a real skate on the canal, it does represent a piece of Ottawa that can now be visited by anyone anywhere in the world.

And, unlike the real Rideau Canal, you can skate on this one all year long.