Chess for the Atari 2600 is not exactly a “hot” category for independent homebrew developers. I am not sure why not though. The board game is a venerable classic. Computer Chess offers the ability to play the game when you don’t have a physical opponent available. Sure, we did see Video Chess release back in the late 70’s, but that was so long ago. A homebrew developer is taking it upon themselves to create a more modern version of Chess for the Atari 2600.
2600 Chess hits hardware limitations
The Atari 2600 is not all that powerful a console. It was great for the time it was released of course. For the most part, electronic Chess has not evolved all that much. I believe only Battle Chess (many platforms) really did anything notable with the graphics. Other than that game, Chess has been pretty much, well, Chess.
The Atari 2600 is more than capable of displaying the pieces in a recognizable manner. That is not a problem. The screen blacks out when the computer is deciding their move. This happened in Video Chess as well.
What is great about the Internet is, we as fans can follow development of games. We can give moral and vocal support to developers with just a few clicks. Often videos of the work in progress are released (such as the one embedded in the Facebook post). This all brings the community closer together as a team.
Right now, 2600 Chess is coming along nicely. Graphically the pieces are large and detailed. Each piece looks like the Chess piece it represents.
The developer has stated in the Atari 2600 Homebrew Games Facebook Group there are problems. For one, right now the game does not recognize a “Checkmate”. It only recognizes the occupied tile and value of piece on it. No worries though as they are actively looking for solutions to this problem.
For more board games check out our coverage here. Want to check out Chess across other platforms and grab one for your favorite console or computer? Check out eBay or Amazon for a deal.