Here’s an Amiga game we were mighty fond of back in the early 1990s. It’s chess, but with cartoon battle animations. What could be better than that!?
From Interplay Productions, this 1988 strategy game takes chess and makes it a bit more child-friendly. Sort of.
It’s a simple idea. You have chess in all its glory. And have the pieces do little battle animations when capturing a square.
A simple idea that was a critical and commercial success in the late 1980s. It was so popular it enjoyed ports onto the Atari, Acorn Archimedes, NES, MAC OS, and Windows.
The heart of the game involves the little animations the pieces do to win a battle, with an individual one for each piece.
Some of them include pop culture references, such as a nod to the legendary Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
These include dark humour, so it’s not like they’re unsuitable for kids.
Although the NES port, given the console’s limitations, loses some of that humour due to the blocky graphics. Look at the gore!
Chess games still exist, of course, and board game to video game adaptations aren’t that rare. Monopoly still continues to receive such treatment.
However, for chess to take off as a popular game is an excellent achievement. And it’s surely all down to those little battle animations.
Some of the appeal no doubt wears off once you’ve seen them all, but back in the late 1980s an idea like this could catapult a title to success. Overcoming technical limitations to appeal to older and younger gamers alike.
Such is its cult status, in 2015 there was a remake, which is still available on Steam. It’s called Battle Chess: Game of Kings.
So if you still fancy chess with a twist, this is one of the games for you.