Sente is a Japanese word describing a very important concept in the game of Go (Wei Qi/Badouk). It translates as something like "initiative".

Basically, if it is your turn to play and your opponent's last move doesn't necessitate an immediate a response, you have sente. You can play anywhere on the board that you like, solidifying your territory, enlarging your moyo, attacking one of your opponent's weak groups, etc. In other words, you get to choose the direction the game will take next.

Obviously, having sente is very important, so learning how to keep it, and how to take it from your opponent are crucial elements of Go strategy.

A move is called sente if, after the sequence that it starts has been played out, the player who started it still has sente. A move is called gote if, the other player gains sente after the sequence is played out. Obviously, if a move is sente, and is beneficial to you, you should play it (unless it would render a more valuable move impossible or gote).

Sente is relative, however. If, at any point in a sequence of moves, you feel that taking sente is more valuable than responding locally, you can tenuki (play elsewhere) and thereby steal sente from your opponent, rendering his sequence gote in exchange for allowing him to gain some extra advantage locally.

See also double-sente and reverse-sente.

Sente was a company that manufactured arcade games back in the mid-80s. The company was originally known as "Videa", but they were quickly purchased by Nolan Bushnell for $1,000,000 and renamed to "Sente". They only made Snakepit before they were purchased again by Bally. From that point on their games were labeled "Bally-Sente", but they were fairly independent and had a different product line than Bally did.

The main idea behind the Sente product line was to produce games that were quickly interchangeable. Most of their titles used a motherboard and cartridge system instead of the dedicated game PCB that other manufacturers used. This idea was later used quite successfully by SNK with their NEO GEO MVS system.

There were a total of 20 different Sente games, and 3 different Sente cabinets. Their games were fairly different from what most manufacturers were putting out, and several of them have become quite popular with modern arcade game collectors.

Sente Game Cabinets


The original SAC-I was a real beast, as it was made out of metal instead of wood. This baby weighed in at 375 pounds which is a lot, some cockpit games don't even weigh that much. The design was kind of funky as well, the top half was covered in molded white plastic, and angled forward towards the player, giving the system a real Star Trek kind of look. If the USS Enterprise had had an arcade game onboard, then it would have been in a SAC-I cabinet.

The sideart on these was a simple greenish "Bally-Sente" sticker that covered part of the plastic area on the sides. The monitor bezel and the rest of the machine were completely generic. Individual game kits would ship with specialized control panels and marquees, but the bare machine just shipped with a "Bally-Sente" marquee and a plain black control panel. All game components could be accessed from the front of the cabinet, which meant that conversions could be done in a matter of minutes.

SAC-I (Wooden)

Not everybody wanted to shell out the cash for a big heavy metal SAC-I, so they quickly introduced a wooden version. It had all the same features as the metal one, but it did not look nearly as cool. This version had full painted "Bally-Sente" sideart, and accepted the same control panels and marquees that the metal version did.


The SAC-II was a big heavy expensive simulator. The whole machine moved to help get the players more into the game. It was constructed mostly out of black plastic on a steel frame. These didn't sell too well due to cost, and there probably aren't more than a handful of them left in the world today.

Sente Games

As far as I know, all these titles were cartridges on the same motherboard. All of them shipped with unique control panels. I am assuming that only the driving games would trigger movement in the SAC-II cabinet, but I could be wrong on that. For all I know, Trivial Pursuit might toss you around like a rag doll every time you missed a question.

The SAC-I motherboard was also available as a universal conversion kit to retrofit machines made by other manufacturers. These were actually a lot more common than the dedicated Sente cabinets.

SAC stands for Sente Arcade Computer.
The smaller monetary unit of Lesotho. It is one hundredth of a loti. The plural is lisente.

The "currencyist" account does not want to collect XP; please don't waste a downvote.

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