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|Release date(s)||1987, 2006|
Laser Chess is a two-player computer game from 1987, modeled as a board game with chess-like pieces, most of which have mirrored surfaces, and one of which is a laser cannon. The game somewhat resembles Deflektor by Gremlin Graphics, especially in the presence of the laser game mechanic.
Players take alternate turns taking two actions with their pieces. An action consists of moving a piece vertically or laterally, rotating a piece 90 degrees, or "firing" the laser cannon. A teleporter piece can teleport pieces that it lands on.
Moving a distance of one square takes one action; moving two squares takes two actions Since a player has only two actions per turn, the maximum distance a piece can be moved on one turn is two squares. Pieces can be moved forward, backward, left, or right, but not diagonally. However, a player can effectively move a piece diagonally by using two actions—forward and right, for example.
Firing the laser
On a player's turn, the player can elect to fire the laser cannon. Firing the laser cannon takes only one action, but can be done only once per turn. Therefore, a player may want to use the first action in a turn to aim the laser, rotate a reflecting piece to set up a reflected shot, or move another piece into position. Laser beams are absorbed if they hit the edge of the board.
The laser will bounce off any mirrored piece, so both a player's own and the opponent's pieces may be used to set up a shot. Since a player is focused on creating a path from that player's laser cannon to a target of interest, the player must be aware that he or she is also creating a path to his or her laser at the same time.
Laser Chess first appeared in Compute!'s Atari ST Disk & Magazine in 1987, written in Modula-2. It won the $5,000 first prize in a programming competition held by the magazine. Ports of the game written in BASIC and machine language were published in the June 1987 issue of COMPUTE! Magazine for the Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, Apple II, and Atari 8-bit. Laser Chess has been re-implemented many times over the years, including a variant Advanced Laser Chess with a larger board and additional pieces.
- Wilk, Stephen R. (October 2007). "Playing with light: A history of games that incorporate the photon". Optics and Photonics News (Optical Society of America) 18 (10): 18.
- Duppong, Mike (June 1987). "Laser Chess". Compute!. p. 25. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
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