Sunday, July 8, 2018

EPISODE 07: The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge


#LX101 (L402), Published by Telegames, Inc.
In this episode (which is very late…sorry about that, Chief), I cover the first third-party game in this podcast, The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge, released by publisher Telegames in 1991. Included is a complete rundown of the gameplay, music (what little there is), and sound effects for The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge. I also highlight a few reviews of the game, some information about the prices that collectors can expect to pay for a The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge cartridge on eBay and other retailers, some trivia and fun facts about the game, and some very welcome feedback about the game from some of my loyal listeners.
Release Date: By March of 1991
Initial retail price: $39.99
Cartridge: The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge is a stereo curved lip-style cartridge. I think it is 128k, but I cannot find confirmation of that.

Genre: Isometric or top-down strategy/tactics game for one or two players; the ComLynx cable is not used in this game.
Based On: The classic board game of Chess, utilizing the experience of Fidelity Electronics, makers of various stand-alone chess computers of the day.
Screen/playfield orientation: landscape (horizontal)
Levels: There are 17 levels of play: Levels 1 through 8 are time-based in which the response time can be set from 5 seconds at Level 1 to 4 minutes at Level 8; Levels 9 through 16 restrict the use of lookahead abilities; and Level 17 is an infinite level.
Carton:  Full-color standard-tab regular-size carton (5 3/8″ by 4 3/8″ by 7/8″)
Manual: A 40-page (including front and back covers) stapled regular-sized booklet manual in monochrome, measuring the usual 4 7/8” high by 3 ¾” wide.
Languages: Available in an English version only.

No other individuals credited or known

The Atari Lynx HandyCast is Now Part of The Throwback Network
Thanks to the hosts of The Throwback Review Podcast, (Sean Johnson, also of The Average Runner Podcast, and Rob “Flack” O’Hara, also of the You Don’t Know Flack Podcast), The Atari Lynx HandyCast has been added to The Throwback Network. Many retro-themed podcasts are included on the network (both gaming- and non-gaming-related). I myself subscribe and listen to most of them, and I would highly recommend that you check out all of the great podcasts listed there. You can find the network here.

New Podcast: Into the Vertical Blank
There is a new Atari podcast in town; it’s called Into the Vertical Blank, and it is hosted by twin brothers, Steve Fulton and Jeff “8BitRocket” Fulton, who grew up “Atari,” or as they call it, in The Vertical Blank. The Vertical Blank is space between the lines; it’s the where work occurs that you never see on screen. In their podcast they discuss Atari computers and systems, new and old, review new games that they collect, talk about all the systems, and the significance they had in their lives and in the lives of others, and they even talk about them in a historical context, and how they are being used now. They do all this in an effort to finally understand the answer to this existential question: what does it mean to have grown up Atari in the generation of the Vertical Blank? I’ve been listening to this podcast lately, and it’s a lot of fun to hear two brothers relate their own experiences “growing up Atari.” Check it out here.

Information about
 The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge:

Atari Age title info/rarity guide for The Fidelity  Ultimate Chess Challenge
Atari Gamer title info/rarity guide for The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge
Wikipedia article about The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge
Moby Games article about The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge
Giant Bomb article about The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge
GameFAQs article for The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge
Reviews and ratings for The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge:
Review by Keita Iida at AtariHQ
Review by Robert A. Jung at IGN (1999)
Review by Jon Mc at Atari Gamer (2018)
YouTube videos about The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge:
Playthrough (janatri73)
Playthrough (VGBDbr)
Playthrough (last true boss) (ZoneLynx Atari)
1979 TV commercial for Fidelity Electronics Chess Game (Bionic Disco)
Retailers Selling The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge:
The Gamesmen (Australia): US$18.31 (new in box)
The Goat Store: US$59.94 (new) or US$29.99 (used)
Telegames (UK): £14.99 or US$19.59
Video 61 & Atari SalesUS$99.99 (new in box)
Resources for Atari Lynx Console/Game-Related Collecting Materials/Tools:
Resource: Game Boy Color cases for Atari Lynx cartridges from Joom
2 1/2″ coin storage sheets from Amazon
Atari Lynx regular-size game carton sleeves from RetroGameFreak

Resource: Atari Lynx large-size game carton sleeves from CollectnProtect
Building a custom Atari Lynx game carton shelving unit from AtariGamer

ResourceAtari Lynx II display stand from Etsy
Other Lynks: (Thanks to Igor for incorporating The HandyCast into his excellent website!)
Retro Video Gamer Forums (Thanks to TrekMD for helping to promote The HandyCast on his wonderful forums!)
Antic: The Atari 8-Bit Podcast (Thanks to Brad Arnold, Randy Kindig, and Kevin Zavitz for the shoutout about The HandyCast in Episode 50!)
The Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to The Podfather himself, Ferg, for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in both Episode 151 and Episode 154!)
The Atari Jaguar Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to Shinto for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in Episode 22!)
Please Stand By (Thanks to Zerbe and Ferg for helping to promote The  HandyCast on several episodes of this fun-to-listen-to show, starting with Episode 60!)
The RCR Podcast (Thanks to the Retro Computing Roundtable: Paul Hagstrom, Quinn Dunki, Jack Nutting, and Carrington Vance, for highlighting The Atari Lynx HandyCast in Episode 167!)
Interview with LX (Alex) Rudis at The Atari Times (2002)

Thanks go to everyone who contributed feedback about The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge for this episode; I really appreciate it!
Also, I would like to thank the Free Music Archive for the following musical artists and songs that were used in this episode under the Creative Commons License: “8-Bit Core” by Tagirijus (opening and closing theme music), “To Eris-Social Blast” by To Eris, “The True Entity of Life” by Daniel Birch and Ben Pegley, “Fields and Strings” by Ian Sutherland, “Oui” by Simon Mathewson, and “Elements (Psychadelik Pedestrian-Chillout Edit)” by Marc Burt.
I would especially like to thank Shinto for submitting his memories of various Atari Lynx games he’s owned in the past to The Atari Lynx HandyCast…they are greatly appreciated. And you should all check out Shinto’s wonderful Atari Jaguar Game by Game Podcast; it’s definitely worth listening to, even if you don’t own or have never even seen a Jaguar console. You can find it here.
Many, many thanks also go to Zerbinator for his continued support. His encouragement and expertise are very much appreciated by me. You can find all of his fun-to-listen-to podcasts here, including my favorite, Please Stand By.
Finally, my thanks to Ferg of The Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast. His inspiration and dedication to covering every game cartridge ever made for the Atari 2600 (I think over 1000 of them!) is what gave me the courage to begin this podcast. Please, check out his don’t-miss podcast, even if you’re not an Atari 2600 collector; or at least visit his website here.
I hope you enjoy this episode of The Atari Lynx HandyCast.
Next Episode: “EPISODE 08: Xenophobe”

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