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Thread: Sega Chess

  1. #31
    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, I should have mentioned that Chessmaster was a very early -- and, I suspect, rushed -- title for the SNES. I suppose it stands to reason that a chess title, with its inherent lack of visual dynamism, would be one of the first games published for the system.

    It'd be great if Sega Channel Chessmaster shows up at some point. Unless they stripped the opening book for space reasons, it should play a pretty good game, especially with the Genesis's brisker 68000 processor to back it up.

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleste View Post
    Thanks for the detailed analysis of the game, Goldenband. I too had the feeling that SMS had kept an advantage until that move.

    Anyway, since I have the hardware and I'm obviously intrigued, and since chess simulations come dirt cheap in retrogaming circles, I decided to spend on an actual Sega Chess cartridge, so I'll be happy to report how does it behave in reality. It comes CIB too, so who knows, maybe the manual will shed light on the promotion issue. ^_^

    Ecco, I'm not missing much a list of captures: rather, I think a notation of the last two moves from white and black player could have been a help in the frontend. I still mantain it's the prettiest of the bunch however, and that's besides 3D. I like that they did polish minor things like giving the chessboard a shadowline, four pedestals on the 3D view, or the lighting effects scattered throughout (see the beam of light on the time counters). Sure, I too switch to 3D only out of boredom in very long games (changing images is a relief for old CRT tubes too), and that's why I'm glad that the only 2D view they opted for, despite having icons on the side, is not shrinked in height like the "War Room" view (which admittedly is great for having all the info at a quick glance).

    Still about presentation: in the meantime, I did find this video retrospective of SNES Chessmaster, and it correctly points out that the title was released in the US in September 1991. The Snes launch was on August 23, which makes this software the first western-developed title for Nintendo's new machine. In light of this, I somehow understand better the ingenuity/flaws of some visual choices (missing lightbulb icon, only one audio track, almost zero speech samples, only one alternate set of pieces, and I'd add questionable use of the pad's buttons). It was so early in the console lifecycle, that it makes sense. And besides, at least this Chessmaster was released on physical form, unlike the missing in action mysterious Sega Channel edition.
    ^This is all very interesting and awesome. I'm glad you bought a repro of Genesis Chess, as I certainly love my repro, mostly on display... and sometimes I enjoy using it too, especially for the feel of playing chess with my beautiful wireless Genesis controllers.

    Please post pics when you get your repro. I only have a cart, myself, so I'm interested to see your cart and box. Manual too, if there is one. (I wonder if yours uses the same artwork as my cart.)

    Also I'll be very interested to see results if you match Genesis Chess against other chess games. Especially SNES, because I'm guessing that Genesis Chess must be a much stronger AI, than the much-earlier SNES game.

    ...

    Not missing a list of captures (in MS "Sega Chess") is fine, if you don't miss that. This is getting into personal preferences of playing chess (though I would have expected most people, to appreciate a nice clear image of captured pieces? Or maybe my personal preference is not as widespread as I would have expected?).

    Also it's fine that you sound like you genuinely enjoy the graphics / aesthetics of MS "Sega Chess." I certainly don't, but aesthetics are the realm of personal preference. I am actually surprised to hear anyone really likes those graphics lol but it shows how true it is that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

    For anyone who does dig the visuals of "Sega Chess" then you'll have a very different experience with it, from my own experience with it.

    To me, the visual appeal / beauty of chess, is a big part of it. So I'm glad to hear that you also seem to find the visuals important (with different personal preference of what actually looks nice, or not).

    Along those lines, I think the only real "wrong" outlook, is for those people who just don't care about the visual appeal, at all, in any way lol. That's a mindset that I can't relate to, lol. But different opinions of beauty, are fair game.

    "War Room" -- just curious: Is this phrasing from the SNES game? (Asking because I don't recall this exact phrasing, before this conversation.)

    ...

    It's really crazy to learn that SNES Chessmaster was the first western-developed title for the console. I agree that it probably helps explain whatever shortfalls are in the game (dev's being unfamiliar with the new console, etc.).

    ...

    That Sega Channel chess game, does seem a true mystery. AFAIK the most concrete evidence of its existence was nothing more than some brief references to the game, as something planned for Sega Channel.

    But that seems to be it. So it's really not established that the game ever really existed, even in development.

    Maybe it never existed beyond the idea of the game, as a planned-feature, for advertising Sega Channel and making it seem more wholesome. (And plans soon dropped after mentioning it, if SEGA's only real interest was the fact of mentioning it.)

    Sega Channel was cool but even at the time, I could see that the Genesis' lifespan was ending, with new releases dwindling to almost nothing. So as cool as it was, Sega Channel had the smell of desperation of prolonging the Genesis' dying lifespan. And in that context, certainly SEGA knew that developing / publishing a new chess game, wasn't going to turn the tides, so they probably didn't bother even trying.

    On the other hand, it would be super interesting to find out that SEGA really WAS developing a unique chess game for Sega Channel, even if the game was unfinished, I'd love to learn more about that. The first question being whether the game was being created from scratch, or if it was a port of another game.


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