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Othello - Atari 2600 - Atari     HTML Manual   


* OTHELLO is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. for its strategy disc game and

A Warner Communications Company

Consumer Division
P.O. Box 427
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

(C) 1981 ATARI, INC.

Use your Joystick Controllers with this ATARI(R) Game Program(TM).  Be sure
the controllers are firmly plugged into the LEFT and RIGHT CONTROLLER jacks
at the rear of your ATARI Video Computer System(TM).  Hold the controller with
the red button to your upper left toward the television screen.

Use the Joystick plugged into the LEFT CONTROLLER jack for one-player games.
See Section 3 of your Video Computer System Owner's Manual for further details.

NOTE: Always turn the console power switch off when inserting or removing a
Game Program.  This will protect the electronic components and prolong the life
of your ATARI Video Computer System.


{ Note: for this ASCII doc, I won't type the entire board, but for displaying
  certain diagrams, "W" will mean white, and "B" will mean black.  - gchance }

You'll need strategy, foresight and cunning to be a success at this game.

The field is made up of a grid containing 64 squares.  Each player is
designated by a color(white or black) and takes turns trying to capture as
many squares as possible.  When you capture a square, it becomes your square
and changes to your color.  Your corresponding score is displayed at the top
of the screen.

To capture a square, you must OUTFLANK your opponent.  To do this, you must
position your squares on the grid so that one or more of your opponent's
squares is in a row which is bordered on each end by one of your squares.

For example, your white square (a) was already in position on the grid, as
shown in the diagram.  During your turn, you position or place a piece on the
white square(b) to outflank your opponent's row.  The results are:

* You capture three of your opponent's squares (squares 1, 2, and 3 in the
  diagram) --

* You capture one new square (b) --

* You score four points --

* Your opponent loses three squares and three points.

a 1 2 3 b       W W W W W

You may also outflank your opponent in more than one direction(horizontal,
vertical, or diagonal) at one time.  For example, a new move to square a (see
the following diagram), allows you to outflank your opponent in two 
directions--horizontally and vertically.  So you score six points and capture
five opposing squares.

B           W
B           W
a B B B c   W W W W W 

If you have no available moves to outflank and capture at least one square, the
cursor changes to your opponent's color after one second and you forfeit your

If neither player can make a move the game is over.  This can occur when one
player has no pieces left on the board.  It is also possible to end a game when
there are blank squares on the board and both players have pieces left but
there are no legal moves.  For a serious challenge, try defeating the computer
64 to 0 in Game 1.


To move the cursor: Move the Joystick right, left, forward, backward, or 
diagonally to move the cursor in the same direction on the grid.  When you move
the cursor off one edge of the grid it will "wrap around" the playfield and
come in on the opposite side.

To position your move: Move the cursor to the desired square and press your
red controller button.  The square then becomes yours and changes to your
color(white or black).


game select switch:

Use this switch to select the game number you wish to play.  The game number
appears at the upper left corner of the screen. (See Game Skill Levels.)

game reset switch:

Use this switch to start game play or to reset a game at any time.  If the game
number is on the screen when the game reset switch is depressed, the game 
number will disappear to make room for the player's scores.

left difficulty switch:

In the a position, this switch causes the game to go into a setup mode in which
either players' Joystick can be used to position squares on the grid.  To do 
this, place the curser in the desired square using the Joystick.  As you press
and release the red controller button, the square will alternate between white,
black, and blank(green).

Use the setup mode to work out specific problems or to work on experimental
situations.  The scores at the top of the screen will change as you position
squares around the grid.

Put the left difficulty switch in the b position for normal game play.

right difficulty switch:

In the a position, the black player moves first; in the b position, the white
player moves first.  The color of the cursor indicates which player is up.

NOTE: The official tournament rules for OTHELLO* require that the black player
always moves first.  This version of the game from ATARI includes the option
of allowing the white player to move first, thus providing an advantage over
the computer.


There are four OTHELLO games in this Game Program.  Each game number signifies
a particular skill level(except for Game 4, which is for two players).

Game 1
Beginner Level.  One player opposes the computer; the computer plays with the
skill of a novice player.

Game 2
Intermediate Level.  One player opposes the computer; the computer plays with
average skill.

Game 3
Expert Level.  One player opposes the computer; the computer plays with expert

Game 4
Two players oppose each other.

* OTHELLO(R) is a registered trademark of CBS, INC. for its strategy disc game
and equipment.


Each square you capture is worth one point.  You lose points when your opponent
captures your squares.  The left controller player's score is displayed in the
upper left corner of the screen; the right controller player's score is at
the upper right.

All game start with two black and two white squares in the center of the grid.
At the game's end the television changes colors every few seconds.  The player
with the highest score wins the game.

Illegal moves:
You must always outflank an opponent's square or row of squares to make a legal
move.  The computer will not accept illegal moves and will react to them with 
a "razz" sound.  You do not lose a turn for attempting to make an illegal move.


The following strategy is included to help the beginning player.  If you are an
advanced player, you may choose to use more complicated strategy, or strategy
to help you develop yourself.

A corner square can be extremely valuable since it cannot be outflanked and
since it serves as a permanent end in three directions(horizontally,
vertically, and diagonally).  Try to capture corner squares whenever possible.

Squares which make up rows on the outside edges of the grid are also valuable.
They can only be outflanked in one direction along the edge and they can serve
as an outside "end" for three directions (2 diagonals and perpendicular to the

Be careful when approaching the row next to the outside row.  When you capture
one of the squares in these rows you become a possible bridge (for your 
opponent) to a corner or end position.

A solid block of one color is often the key to a winning game.  Another key
to winning is dominating the corners of the grid.

See the following diagrams for graphic examples of how to play OTHELLO

B       B            The four corner squares are very good to occupy.
                     They cannot be captured.

B       B   

 B    B              Be careful occupying these squares.  Your opponent
                     can maneuver to get the corner squares.

 B    B 

  BBBB               Playing in these squares makes it easier for your
 B    B              opponent to get the "edge" or outside squares.  Avoid
 B    B              playing in these squares whenever possible.
 B    B
 B    B

 BBBBBB              Try to get the "edge" squares.  They can only be captured
B      B             along the edge, from one direction.
B      B
B      B
B      B
B      B
B      B

Printed in U.S.A.  C011402-39 Rev.2

This document was typed and converted to html by

This document obtained from the History of Home Video Games Homepage, 1997-1998 by Greg Chance

Untitled Document