Battle Chess was a computer game version of chess in which the chess pieces come to life and battle one another. I played a whole lot of Battle Chess on my Commodore and I am still horrible at chess. I think I was too fixated on the animations and the Monty Pythonesque antics to learn anything. I should have payed closer attention to how to play.
Why would I buy a chess game when I had no experience with it? Did I think I would learn? Nope. I bought it because of Star Wars. The game that Chewbacca and Artoo are playing has been in my brain since I first saw the film. Battle Chess was the closest think I had seen to it up till that point. Later when they would release Star Wars Chess, I would rush to buy it despite still not having any chess skills.
Published by Interplay in 1988, it would go on to be a best-selling title selling 250,000 copies by February 1993. It was so popular that it would go on to spawn sequels and remakes aplenty. Most recently a version on the Steam platform called, Battle Chess: Game of Kings.
It was released for the Commodore Amiga and subsequently on the 3DO, MS-DOS, Apple IIgs, Commodore 64, Amiga CDTV, CD32, Atari ST, Apple Macintosh, Acorn Archimedes, FM Towns, Windows 3.x and Nintendo Entertainment System. A port of it was produced for the Atari Jaguar CD, but sadly never saw the light of day.
Work on the game and future ports would be done by Silicon & Synapse. If that company does not sound familiar, perhaps you know them by their current name, Blizzard. Who are makers of the Warcraft and Starcraft franchise.
The game was produced by Interplay founder Brian Fargo. It was designed by Michael Quarles, Jayesh J. Patel, and Troy P. Worrell with art by Todd J. Camasta
and Bruce Schlickbernd.
Want to see Battle Chess in action? Here is the enhanced version for MS-DOS that was released in 1992.