The Queen’s Gambit Chess (based on a streaming series I know entirely through memes and nothing else) is coming from Netflix. The video game is touted as “a love letter” to the show — a love letter that, in this case, appears to chess. It’s a chess game based on the chess show.
There’s some other stuff going on, too, of course. It looks like you can play with different pieces and boards. There appear to be challenges based on real (I assume) chess maneuvers. That stuff actually sounds pretty interesting! I’m kind of a sucker for games that teach me real-world skills, like the ancient bartender simulator Nimble Strong, which I’m sure at least a dozen people besides me remember. Probably…
At the same time, I find it extremely funny when people need to take an existing, fairly dry product and repackage it into something exciting. In this case, the focus of the trailer (and the Netflix Geeked 2022 showcase that presented it) was about how deeply tied into the show it is. As such, the announcement used a lot of that same, strange language that games like this often do — playing down the source material and playing up the connection to the Netflix show. At times, it sounds like they’re pretending chess itself was invented solely for the TV series.
Yet it’s… still chess. It’s just chess, folks. I have so, so many existing ways to play chess already: in my hall closet, on my phone, Battle Chess, pulling out my copy of Chessmaster for the PlayStation 2, the list goes on. Chess is everywhere and always has been. Because it’s, y’know, chess. But hey! I hope at the very least this is a good version of chess.
It’s going to be difficult for The Queen’s Gambit Chess to stand out from that crowd. Especially since, as I write this news right now, the SEO for “the queen’s gambit chess” seems really locked down with the Netflix series. More than that, however, is that there’s already been a great chess-based game this year that evolves the formula in the best way possible: Shotgun King.
As Fanbyte staffer merritt k wrote earlier this year, Shotgun King is “a turn-based roguelike that addresses the obvious problem with the original game, which is that the king doesn’t have a gun.” It’s a fun little mashup that takes the core tenets of chess but puts its own unique angle on it, making the whole thing feel fresh. I’m not sure if skins and connection to a TV series from two years ago are quite what I need to make me stand up and pay attention in the same way. But who knows!
The game will be playable exclusively through the Netflix app, with no microtransactions or ads to speak of, which makes sense given that you need a Netflix subscription to play.
Netflix Geeked is part of Fanbyte’s Hot Game Summer 2022 coverage, where we bring you recaps and commentary on this summer’s game presentations. This includes things like the Xbox & Bethesda showcase, the PC Gaming Show, and the all-encompassing Summer Game Fest hosted by Geoff Keighley. If you’re interested in seeing all of Fanbyte’s coverage, check out our Hot Game Summer 2022 hub. Have fun and enjoy your summer of announcements!