Shogi is Japan's rival to western Chess and is actually more popular in Japan than Chess is in the west. This is not surprising as it is a richer, more dynamic game, with more possibilities and scope for trading material for positional advantage. Although hugely popular in Japan, its prominence outside Japan is probably limited due to its dependence on Japanese kanji characters to display the pieces, which westerners find harder to read. Shotest Shogi bridges this gap, providing western-style sets, including a piece design that also shows the legal moves for each piece.
Xbox 360 Shotest Shogi: is a collaborative work between
AI Factory Ltd and Rubicon Development

Shotest Shogi for the Xbox 360.
Full 3D XBLA product, for release in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, German & Italian.
Shotest Shogi 3D for the PC, in English only.
AI Factory
3D Shogi for the PC, in Japanese only.
AI Factory, Unbalance Publisher
Available now.
Buy 3D Shogi here
Shogi for the Sony PSP, in English, Spanish, French, German & Italian.
AI Factory, Mere Mortals Publisher
Shogi for the Gizmondo, supported in English, Spanish, French, German & Italian.
AI Factory, Gizmondo Publisher

3D Shogi Environment

Once you have experienced playing Shogi in a full 3D setting you will, in all probability, not want to return to an old flat 2D display.

The realistic play makes you feel as if you are facing a real opponent.

The pieces are rendered in full 3D with true shadows and reflections.

You lift and place the shogi pieces as if you were there, fully immersing yourself into the experience of the game.

Playing in a fully crafted Japanese room, and moving pieces on a traditional Kaga wood board, you can enter into the spirit of this classic traditional Japanese game.

In the background, classic Japanese music plays while you muse on your move...

Take on real human opponents online (Xbox 360 XBLA only) and build up a ranking among the on-line Shogi-playing community. Web-cam is supported so you can see your opponents and they can see you.

If you are new to Shogi, you can play using the Western-style set (in all 3D versions, as shown on right), with the piece design showing how each piece moves.

Innovative Tutorial

Shotest Shogi on the Xbox 360 is the most feature laden Shotest product yet, and includes a full tutorial system, taking you through all the principles of Shogi, including demonstrating key features such as common piece tactics, and how to construct and break into the major castle types.

Combined with comprehensive tests, the tutorial actually helps you understand and learn these new ideas, rather than just telling you what to do. The tests not only recognise correct answers but can provide guidance in response to incorrect answers.

The tutorials also contain both Tsume (mate puzzles) and Hisshi problems to solve.

In the Xbox 360 version the first introductory chapter of the Tutorial is provided with the free demo, with the 2 follow-on advanced chapters included in the retail version.

Xbox 360 Shotest Shogi was released Worldwide on 10th September 2008!

Xbox 360 Add-on Packs

Following its launch, the Xbox 360 Shotest Shogi will be provided with a series of add-on packs.

These will offer historical games with commentaries, puzzle packs, advanced tutors and a magazine-type coverage of Shogi topics.

The 3D interface for the product is the ideal format for explaining games as any move can be accompanied by pointers and highlights to show the important squares.

Shotest Features

  Xbox 360 Shotest Shogi 3D 3D Shogi Shogi (PSP) Shogi (Gizmondo)
AI Character Opponents 16 FP FP - 14
Play levels - 30 30 10 14
3D Graphics Yes Yes Yes - -
2D / Overhead Display Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tutorial / Puzzles Yes FP FP - -
English Language Yes Yes - Yes Yes
Japanese Language Yes - Yes - -
Korean/Chinese Yes - - - -
EMEA Languages Yes - - Yes Yes
On-line Play Yes - - - -
Hints - Yes - Yes Yes
Time Limits Yes Yes Yes - -
Handicaps - Yes Yes - -
Add-on Tutorial/Puzzles Yes FP - - -
FP = Planned for future product upgrade

Shotest History

Shotest has been competing in the World Computer Shogi Championships in Japan since 1997, where it created great interest as it was a new western program, but immediately ranked 13th from 33 programs, already making it by far the most successful western shogi program to compete in the competition.

The following 2 years Shotest twice came 3rd from 35 programs, only narrowly missing 1st place by finally losing to a program it had already beaten. In all it has beaten 3 different world champions on 6 occasions in the year they were world champion. No other western program has matched this ranking. It also won Gold, Silver and Bronze medal in the World Computer Olympiads in the years 2001, 2000 and 2002. See the AI Factory newsletter for competition reports and articles on Shotest.

Shogi and Related AI Articles

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The 17th World Computer Shogi Championship 2007
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The World Computer Shogi Championship 2005
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Developing competition level games intelligence
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Links to Shogi sites

Takodori's Entrance to Shogi World
A blog about Shogi aimed at an English-speaking audience.

Link to a collection of articles mentioning Shotest Shogi
Lots of articles which mention Shotest Shogi appeared online from 17th to 18th March 2008 - this is Takodori's collection of links to some of these articles.