Ataxx was originally created in the United Kingdom by Dave Crummack and Craig Galley in 1988. The original title of the game was Infection and it was made for the Amiga. They attempted to port it to the Spectrum and Amstrad CPC systems but these versions never saw the light of day. The Leland Corporation, an arcade machine manufacturer, took notice of the game and a deal was made to release it in arcades under the title Ataxx. Ataxx has carved a small niche for itself in the history of video games, though mostly forgotten now, it was once featured as a mini-game in the immensely popular PC game The 7th Guest.
Ataxx is often described as a variant of Othello , but this is misleading. There are some formal similarities—you could easily use the same graphics for an Ataxx and an Othello game, Ylian Saint-Hilaire did that—but as soon as you start playing Ataxx, you will notice that it is a completely different game, and your experience with Othello won't help you at all.
Typically, Ataxx is played on a 7×7 board, but some implementations have increased the board size up to 13×13. Typically, there are obstacles on the board, often generated randomly but symmetrically at the start of the game. The players start with two stones each placed in diagonally opposed corners of the board. At each turn, a player may either:
- Place a stone next to one of his or her own stones, or
- Move a stone over two squares. Some implementations allow only straight movement, some diagonal as well, and some even knight jumps. Some allow jumping over an obstacle, some don't, but you can always jump over an enemy stone.
All the enemy stones on the eight neighboring fields of the newly placed stone then change color. The game is over when no more legal moves are possible, and the player with more stones has won.
Ataxx In Other Games!
- Ataxx was featured as a mini-game in the 7th Guest.
- 7up made a clone of Ataxx featuring their mascot Cool Spot.
- An online version called Boogers is still very popular.
- The Sierra game Mega Math had a version of Ataxx where you did math problems in order to make moves.
- An iphone clone called Green Thumb features different style boards to complete.
- There is a version called Hexxagon released on PC by Software Creations in 1993. This is played on a hexagonal board.
- A freeware version called Kloon! is available online with varying game options.