A really bad approach to Reversi on the iPhone

Reversi, sometimes known under the trade name Othello is a really terrific board game. The game goes back to at least 1888, and is said with some truth that it takes a few minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. Reversi has been very popular as a computer game for many years. In most versions you can play another human, or play against the computer.

It seems popular among Mac enthusiasts, and Ted Landau, who created and oversees the venerable MacFixit web site is a one time National Champion of the game, and came in 3rd in the World Championships in 1984. Go Ted!

The iPhone/ iPod touch has had many Othello/Reversi games available. Some play OK, some do fairly well, but doing quality artificial intelligence on a phone is no small challenge.

That brings me to the app at hand, called ReversiSister [no App Store link yet], from Japanese game authors DigiDock. To call it a new approach to the game would be an understatement. As you play, music blares in the background, while an animated cheerleader shouts at you. As Reversi is a game that takes concentration, I can't imagine why on earth someone would think this is a smart approach to game design. On top of that, the game does not play very well, and in my first game the app crashed near the end so I don't know who won, but I was ahead when the game went south.

You can turn down the sound and the irritating cheerleader, but that really doesn't improve the game play, and even if the cheerleader is turned off you can still see her waving her arms around.

There are some pretty fair Reversi games at the app store, including Morocco, Reversi and Black and White, but Ted Landau, who plays far better than I has looked at most of them and thinks they are all pretty poor.

Well, good or bad there is nothing worse than ReversiSister. It's loud, irritating, plays badly and crashes every so often. I'd give you the link to the game, but it's not yet listed in the US App Store. That's probably a good thing, but watch for it if you are a masochist. Here's a link to a YouTube video of the game play. Consider yourself warned. The game is going to sell for $0.99US.

Here's a collection of screen grabs: