Alderaan Gambit or Mothma Opening?
June 19, 2014 6:13 AM   Subscribe

The complete animations for Star Wars Chess on Sega CD: Rebel Alliance and The Empire.
posted by griphus (25 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I kinda wish Chewie HAD been the one to dispatch Vader.

But I suppose it would have interfered with the something something daddy issues theme
posted by edgeways at 6:47 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


We could use this to establish a Average Demise Violence Index from 1 (Princess Leia) to 10 (C3PO).
posted by selfnoise at 6:49 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I enjoy how C3PO bumbles his way to victory with every piece he takes.
posted by codacorolla at 7:32 AM on June 19, 2014


The AT-ST is completely out of scale. This isn't canon at all!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:54 AM on June 19, 2014


Would the Alderaan Gambit be a table flip on the first move?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:01 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Its interesting to me how the entire genre of Battle Chess type games surged, then died down and is not all but completely non-existent.

The dying off part I understand perfectly. People who play chess don't generally want their thought processes interrupted by "cute" animations of the pieces fighting and dying, they want to think about their strategy. People who like the cute animations probably don't much like chess.

But the sudden surge of Battle Chess knockoffs confuses me. I'm kind of baffled by the rise of the original Battle Chess, who was buying it and why? But the knockoffs seem even less likely than the original. Take a board game that involves careful thought, design a computer version that interrupts careful thought every time a piece is taken, profit? How does that happen?

And I see that there's a Battle Chess remake available on Steam.
posted by sotonohito at 8:01 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Knights that aren't Jedi Knights feels like a missed opportunity.
posted by cjelli at 8:03 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


@cjelli, it was old school Star Wars, before the prequels. The only Jedi Knight in the whole galaxy when that game was made was Luke.
posted by sotonohito at 8:05 AM on June 19, 2014


Its interesting to me how the entire genre of Battle Chess type games surged, then died down and is not all but completely non-existent.

Were I a man inclined to such things, I'd make a battle chess megapost or whatever but because I am not here is, in my opinion, the height of absurdity in the genre: Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Chess Wars.
posted by griphus at 8:25 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Apparently my nerd hind-brain finds it very unsettling to see the "A long time ago" go straight to the crawl without the "STAR WARS" appearing in the middle.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:26 AM on June 19, 2014


(Make sure to witness the John Connor/T-1000 fight at 5:35.)
posted by griphus at 8:27 AM on June 19, 2014


Wow these are terrible animations. Truly awful art, if charming for that. Still it looks terribly bad for 1994. Compare to Interplay's 1988 Battlechess on Amiga 500. Which is definitely lower quality, but is six years earlier and has the decency to be rendered on the machine itself. And without the cheesy fighting on a separate screen battleground. (They even managed to shoe-horn that game into the Apple ][, but it's pretty rough sledding.)

The Sega CD is such a weird device. The game disc could hold 640MB of content, an absolutely phenomenal amount of data for the time. But the CD-ROM drive was slow (1x?), the video pipeline and CPU terrible slow, no hardware decoder for compressed video. No decent compressed video formats, for that matter. So they could deliver a lot of content to the console but they couldn't really run a movie well. The source art suffers here too.
posted by Nelson at 8:39 AM on June 19, 2014


Battle Chess was great, one summer I had nearly rented the entire inventory of a local gas station's NES games while staying at my grandmother's cottage. My little cousins made me keep the game in animated mode instead of flat 2d board mode so they could watch the actually-pretty-violent-for-1980s-Nintendo death scenes while I played. This is how we all learned to play chess in a family that had no adults who played.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:48 AM on June 19, 2014


That animation's pretty charming. There's a looseness to it that's remarkably "cartoony". In particular Chewbacca's movements are fantastically active and fluid compared to him being relatively stiff in the actual movies.

Though they certainly emphasized certain of Leia's...characteristics.
posted by themadthinker at 8:52 AM on June 19, 2014


I'm kind of baffled by the rise of the original Battle Chess, who was buying it and why?

It demoed well, so you bought it, went through all the animations once (which were adorable) and then never played it again. Like many things from that era of software.
posted by smackfu at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


And yeah I'd only continue the Battle Chess derail to draw out the contrast between how elegantly they programmed in those animations and fit them onto a single floppy disk for the PC version vs. how lazy the video clips on early CD-ROM games were used to sell the systems.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2014


sotonohito: @cjelli, it was old school Star Wars, before the prequels. The only Jedi Knight in the whole galaxy when that game was made was Luke.

Which is one more than the number of actual, destrier-riding, fief-defending knights alive today. Yet there are horse heads in modern chess sets.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:16 AM on June 19, 2014


It demoed well, so you bought it, went through all the animations once (which were adorable) and then never played it again. Like many things from that era of software.

Weird as it may sound, it was also just a name that sounded cool. Like something you could boast about at school for playing because it was a little bit subversive and not a "kid" game.

It's worth remembering that even nerd groups at schools have a hierarchy and certainly at my school in the early nineties a lot of that hierarchy was defined by what computer system and games you had in a market that was far less homogonised than it is now.

Twelve year old me looked up at the nerd who owned a PC and Battlechess as the guy who was clearly more mature and devil-may-care than the rest of us, who were still mostly playing Dizzy Egg on our hand-me-down Commodore 64s from older siblings, or trying to sneak in a game of Mortal Kombat in at Letchworth Swimming Pool without the receptionist chasing us off for being "too young to play it."

Probably sounds silly now, but there you go.
posted by garius at 9:24 AM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing I never understood about Battle Chess was the game was just chess, and not a very good one. And it came out some 5 years after Archon, a truly wonderful spin on a chess-like game for computers where piece capture was decided by real-time twitch combat. Looking back now, that game pre-saged the whole RTS/MOBA genre.
posted by Nelson at 9:35 AM on June 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Indeed thinking about it Battle-Chess-kid was also the only one of us at the time who owned a Megadrive - and thus had a copy of MK at home too when that came out. And wait - he used to charge us 10p per life to play Skate or Die on his Game Boy as well.

You know what though Battle-chess-kid, if you're reading this?

Fuck you.

You know who has the most-money-spent-in-a-single-transaction record in Game in Westfield Stratford now? Me - that's who. Yeah, that's right. I buy my own consoles now. The latest consoles and the latest games. The moment they come out.

Fuck you Battle-Chess-kid. You have no power over me now. I see through your paper-thin vinear of cool to the bitter husk within. I laugh at your 386 and your 486 and your beloved Battle Chess and...

...and yeah, thinking about it you never did show us that copy of Night Trap you swore your dad had bought you either!

YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME NOW, BATTLE-CHESS-KID! YOU HEAR ME?!?! NO POWER! BECAUSE I OWN THE COMPUTERS AND THE CONSOLES AND THE GAMES NOW. I DON'T NEED YOU BECAUSE I....

...Oh God. Because I have become you.


*curls up in a ball and cries*
posted by garius at 9:41 AM on June 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


sotonohito: "@cjelli, it was old school Star Wars, before the prequels. The only Jedi Knight in the whole galaxy when that game was made was Luke."

I think there was a guy named Obi-Wan, wasn't he a Jedi?



But in this game, no Obi-Wan, no Han Solo. They have a limited number of slots, and I guess Chewbacca had more animation potential than Han Solo?


I'd never made this connection before, but the Battle Chess thing is almost like a precursor to the fatalities in Mortal Kombat. Or at least they scratch the same itch for the player.
posted by RobotHero at 10:28 AM on June 19, 2014


Queen Vader?

?!
posted by George Lucas at 12:39 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Still better than Episode I.
posted by sourcequench at 12:48 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


My hypothesis would be that things like Sega CD were the first tentative forays into next gen after the 16 bit era (although the CD was mainly storage and the processor was still 16 bit, right?). Therefore you want something that can show off the graphical flair of your new systems, but is still an easily recognizable base form.
posted by codacorolla at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


As George Lucas once said: "Queen Vader? ?!"
posted by stbalbach at 8:43 PM on June 19, 2014


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