Othello (NES)

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Othello - NES.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1988
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Buy: Amazon
For other games in the series, see Othello.

Othello is a video game adaptation of the board game of the same name. The game is named after the Shakespeare play, and coined the tagline "A minute to learn, a lifetime to master." The NES version of the game was developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Kawada, Tsukuda Original, and Acclaim.

The game takes place on a 8x8 grid. Two players select their color; black or white. Two of each color are placed in the center of the board and the game begins. The goal is for one player to get more pieces on their board at the end of the game than the other player. The second player can either be controlled by a human player or a computer. The computer has four different AI levels; level 1 being the easiest, and level 4 being the hardest. In addition, a timer can be set for each player which, if the time runs out for a player, they lose the game.

The game received negative criticism from its players. Some critiqued the game for even the easiest AI level to be brutally difficult, as well as the unappealing visuals; mostly just grays and greens. Also, during a game, the only audio you will hear is pieces moving, along with a couple jingles.


Othello - NES - Title Screen.png

The USA title screen.

Othello - FC - Title Screen.png

The Japan title screen.

Othello - NES - Gameplay 1.png

Entering my name.

Othello - NES - Gameplay 2.png

The computer player is kicking my butt!

Othello - NES - Win.png

I win!

Othello - NES - Ending 1.png

The "bad" ending.


Because Othello was an earlier release in the NES library, its audio leaves a lot to be desired. There's a title and menu theme, which are nice, jazzy themes. However, most of the tunes in the game are short jingles. During gameplay, there's no music, and only a few sound effects here and there. The game's soundtrack was written by HAL's then-main composer, Hideki Kanazashi of Adventures of Lolo fame.

According to Hideki, he first wrote music for the NES by giving his music to the programmer(s), who would implement his music into the game. He later used Music Maker, but this game appears to be an earlier title with a lower fidelity of music, so it is most likely he used the former method. Hiroaki Suga is credited as a programmer, and has been credited for sound programming in other NES games that use the same sound engine, so he is assumed as the programmer.

While the game was also released on the Famicom Disk System, it does not take advantage of the Disk System's RP2C33 sound chip, and thus, sounds exactly the same as the NES and Famicom versions.

The game's soundtrack was later used in Othello (GB) and Othello World (GB). It is unknown if Kanazashi did these arrangements himself, or if they were done by someone else, as the Game Boy versions lack credits.


# Title Composer Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen Hideki Kanazashi 0:36
02 Menu Hideki Kanazashi 0:36
03 Game End Hideki Kanazashi 0:03
04 Lose Hideki Kanazashi 0:03
05 Draw Game Hideki Kanazashi 0:03
06 Win Hideki Kanazashi 0:03
07 Congratulations!! Hideki Kanazashi 0:49


(Sources: NES, Famicom, FDS)

The game's credits can be viewed after beating the Level 5 AI difficulty, which can only be accessed by beating the Level 4 AI difficulty. Though the names and roles went unchanged between all three releases of the game, there were minor details tweaked with the staff screen. For example, the Japanese versions list the HAL Laboratory logo in the top-right corner of the screen, whereas the NES version removes it entirely. The Famicom version uses pink text while the Disk System and NES versions use gray. In addition, the heart symbols that appear to the left and right of the STAFF text were changed to copyright symbols in the North American release.

Various sources including albums and HAL staff have identified Hideki's alias.

Game Rip

Issue - Incomplete.svg

This rip is missing songs.






The NSF file contains fourteen tracks; seven songs and seven sound effects.


  Japan.svg   Japan
Othello - FDS.jpg
Title: Othello
Platform: Famicom Disk System
Released: 1986-10-13
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
  Japan.svg   Japan
Othello - FC.jpg
Title: Othello
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1986-11-13
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
  USA.svg   USA
Othello - NES.jpg
Title: Othello
Platform: NES
Released: 1988-12-??
Publisher: Acclaim