Othello is a competent conversion of the board game of the same name. Also called Reversi, Othello is a variant of checkers and the Disk System version is challenging, fun to play and simple enough to have aged well since its release in 1986.


Japanese Title: オセロ Osero
English Release: Othello (NES,1988)
Release Date: November 13, 1986
Publisher: Kawada
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Genre: Puzzle/Strategy
Product Code: KWD-OTH
Disk Format: Single-sided
Notable Credits:  Music Composed by Hideki Kanazashi.

Othello, like many of the early Disk System games doesn’t really need to be on the Disk System. The title saw a simultaneous release in cartridge form for the Famicom, and an altered version of the game appeared in North America on the Nintendo Entertainment System two years later.

Needless to say, Othello doesn’t take advantage of the many features offered via the disk card format. Othello is simplistic, both in game play and in presentation. The game is based on a board game that sees two players assuming controller either black or white disks. The point of the game is to have the most of your colour showing on the board once all the spaces are filled. You can turn your opponents disks over to your colour by ‘sandwiching’ a disk or grouping of disks of the opponent colour with your disks, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The tag-line on the NES packing is beyond accurate when i proclaimed  “A minute to learn, a lifetime to master’. The visual presentation of the game is similarly plain. Just white and black circles on a green background.

Othello plays just as you would expect if you have previous knowledge of the board game; its the same Othello experience. You can either play against the computer or a second human controlled player, although the computer is widely regarded to be very difficult to defeat. Not one of the plain and simplistic design elements work against the game, rather they coalesce to distill the experience. Othello is a no frills board game adaptation; in this case that design principal works in the games favour and is also the reason why it has aged fairly well.