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Ishido: Way of the Stones

Genre: Puzzle Developer: Publishing International Publisher: Accolade Players: 1 Released: 1990

Did you ever see your grandmother pulling tiles out of a felt bag and arranging them neatly on a board, never quite comprehending what it was she was doing? Well kids, now you can relive that horrific boredom by playing Ishido: Way of the Stones! Ishido is a sim of those horrendously boring Asian tile games that involve old people sitting at a table for hours while you probably sat listening to your parents talking about something equally boring. For some reason, Accolade actually thought gamers in the 18-30 age bracket enjoyed these games and believed releasing this was a good idea. Unfortunately, Ishido is a game aimed specifically at the old and infirm as they have so much time on their hands anyway they don’t actually care what they are doing they just want to be doing something. But seriously Accolade, most old folks complain about programming VCR’s and you actually think one is going to go out, spend their hard earned pension dollars on a Genesis, buy Ishido and play it?. Somehow I don’t think so.

Theres nothing special about the way Ishido looks, and to be honest with you they probably could have released this on the Master System and I wouldn’t have known the difference. You can cycle between three boards in real time and I must concede that the backgrounds are nice. Unfortunately, the tiles look bland; their symbols having little to no detail. The score board is a base color with uninspired fonts, and the actual playing board is equally uninspired with only one having any sort of recognizable detail.

In Ishido you must make decisive choices in where to put your tiles by examining your pouch using the C button; however the process of sitting, looking at your pouch, and then trying to figure out the perfect place to position your next tile to make a four-way or straight becomes tedious very quickly. You can change boards in real time also by using the B button as mentioned before or get the game to show you a possible move by using the C menu again, but using anything out of the C menu voids a high score. If one does not utilize the C menu there is a chance that you can actually (quite easily) run out of possible moves and have to start the game again. This is no big loss though, as this is possibly one of the most boring games in existence, and this would free up time to actually play a good puzzler like Columns or something.

Oh, and don’t come to Ishido expecting good music and sound effects, because all that exists are a couple of slapping sounds when you place a tile down, some error sounds, and a crappy wood block tune at the start of the game. There is no background music which could have potentially lifted this games score.

Well, here it is: Ishido. This is one of the most boring games I have ever played, I have never had less motivation to play anything before in my life. I would personally prefer to rip out my brain stem, walk into the middle of the nearest four-way intersection and skip rope with it before playing this again. If you like torturing yourself with memories of mind numbing visits to your grandmother’s house, then by all means play Ishido. There are no redeeming qualities to be found here; no background music, stupid sound effects, no special effects, bland board design, repetitive and tedious gameplay and a lack of excitement anywhere make this game not even worth a second glance. In fact, the only reason I gave Ishido a 1 is a) because I couldn’t give it 0 and b) because the name is interesting. There are better menial time wasters for the Genesis; Columns comes to mind so go waste some time with that and don’t waste your life with this.

SCORE: 1 out of 10

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