The real Othello battle rages within.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic board game Othello, as trademarked by Goro Hasegawa in 1973. As such, the Japanese producer of the game Megahouse has released the Miniature Othello Collection in capsule machines across Japan, touting them as “the world’s smallest Othello!!”

This tickled our writer Mr. Sato, whose inner child tends to call the shots, so he decided to take a spin and was delighted to get the four-player version. Regular readers of our site might remember that a few months back P.K. Sanjun had gotten the standard version of the Miniature Othello and couldn’t even finish a game because the tiny pieces were too hard to work with.

This time, Mr. Sato’s four-player version promised an even more cramped experience, so he went to P.K. to draw on his expertise.

Mr. Sato: “Yo, P.K., check out what I just bought!”

Mr. Sato: “Ta-da! It’s Miniature Othello!”

P.K.: “Ugh, really? Yeah, no thanks. I’m good.”

Mr. Sato: “No, wait… This time it’s different, see? This is the four-player version.”
P.K.: “But, these pieces don’t have any colors on them.”

Mr. Sato: “What the hell?! I have to put all these stickers on myself?”

Mr. Sato: “How am I supposed to put a sticker on each of these little things?”

Mr. Sato: “I managed to get one, but with my farsightedness, doing just one is exhausting.”

P.K.: “Aw, screw this! I’m sorry, Mr. Sato, but there’s no way in hell I’m doing this. You’re on your own.”

And so, Mr. Sato began applying 66 tiny stickers to 66 tiny pieces, all of which he could barely see with his aging eyes.

Fatigue gave way to anger, and eventually, anger gave way to madness…

But our writer was not about to let this little game beat him. He was determined to play it and have fun no matter what the cost.

After half of the pieces were given stickers, Mr. Sato contemplated his choices in life as he neared the age of 50. Was this all he had to look forward to?

Then he snapped back to his senses and pushed aside his self-doubt so he could go back to finishing the task at hand.

After another grueling sticker session, he managed to get all the pieces ready to play. Finally, his Miniature four-player Othello game was complete, at a cost of 500 yen (US$3.39) and an untold mental toll.

Now, he would need to assemble the four players needed to engage in a proper game. First, he begged P.K. to come back and use his fiery passion to ignite the heat of the Othello battle. Then, he borrowed the analytical mind of Seiji, whom he had fought alongside against a merciless AI opponent in shogi.

He also enlisted his boss, Yoshio, a deadly opponent who often blurs the line between insanity and cunning. Of course, Mr. Sato would take part too, despite his own exhaustion from putting the game together.

The modern-day gladiators stared at each other across the field of battle…

There’s the field in case you missed it.

P.K.: “So, how does this work, anyway?”
Seiji: “Yeah, I never played this with four people.”
Mr. Sato: “It works the same way. Any pieces between two of yours become yours.”

Yoshio: “It’s impossible to even pick up the pieces without tweezers.”
Mr. Sato: “Remember, no sneezing! It’s liable to blow the whole thing away.”

P.K.: “The cubes have six sides but only four colors.”
Seiji: “I wonder if it’d be faster to use my hand.”
Yoshio: “I don’t mean to be a downer, but this kind of sucks…”

Mr. Sato: “This is a really special game, so I’m going to record it for posterity.”
P.K.: “Who the hell would want to watch this?”

P.K. was right. This game was becoming the very definition of “tedious” and only became more so as time went on. This is because as more pieces were placed on the teeny board, more pieces would need to be turned over. The pieces also started to crowd together, making it next to impossible to move one without disturbing the rest.

After 30 minutes of play, the pace of the game slowed down considerably and everyone could tell. Each player lost the desire to win and simply wanted the game to end one way or another.

Mr. Sato secretly prayed to himself that someone would get so frustrated they’d just flick the board off the table in anger. Even as the board filled up, they seemed farther away from the end because each move took longer and longer to complete.

Still, on this day, each player had an iron will and stuck with it until the very end. After 50 minutes the game was decided.

Pieces: White (Yoshio), Black (Mr. Sato), Blue (P.K.), Red (Seiji)

The headache of trying to figure out who won by looking at that picture is but a small taste of the mental anguish these competitors had to endure. We’ll relieve you of it and say that Seiji won with 26 pieces, followed by P.K. with 21, Yoshio with 10, and Mr. Sato in last place with 7.

Seiji was on the verge of tears at the end of the game. Not because he’d won, but because this nightmare was finally over.

Seiji: “It’s over…”
Mr. Sato: “That was pretty fun. Let’s go again.”
P.K.: “*&%# off…”

Yes, everyone was a loser on this day. Despite being such a tiny game, it has a voracious capacity to drain the joy out of everyone’s heart. If you really want to feel how painstaking the process was, we have the whole 50-minute game on video for you to bear witness.

At least, the other versions of Othello are still fun to play. These extreme miniature versions clearly are best left for collectors and aspiring brain surgeons.

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]