Review: Spot: The Video Game (NES)

By Drew Wilson

Spot: The Video Game is a board game style video game released on the NES. Brand-based video games tend to be either good or really bad. We take a look at which category this particular game falls under.

Spot is (was?) a mascot for the soft drink 7Up. The mascot in question was featured prominently in advertising campaigns in the 80’s and 90’s, but less prominently these days. Cool Spot was featured in a couple of video games and Spot: The Video Game is one of them. This game was released in 1990. Apparently, this game was originally intended to be a low budget video game called “Infection”, but licensing changed the game by a fair bit.

The game resembles other games like Reversi or Attaxx. The idea of this game is essentially to either eliminate the other players from the board or to take up the most number of spaces when there is no more room. Up to four players can play this game. Whether they are computer players, human players or a combination of both is up to the player.

Straight out of the gate, there are two players by default – you (yellow) and the computer player (blue). Usually, games in this era have the first player be red and the second player be blue, but that’s probably because the main mascot colour is already red. You have a piece on the top left corner and the bottom right while the computer player has the top right and bottom left.

You can move on space in any direction that is over by one from a space already occupied by your player piece. If you make a move left, you’ll have two pieces that are side-by-side. You can also move two spaces over in any direction, but you don’t get to leave one piece behind as you would normally by moving one space over. This can add to the strategy of the game where you get to decide if it’s more advantageous to flip over more players and leave a space behind or flip over fewer players while not leaving any space behind.

One thing I’ve noticed while playing this game is that the computer always seems to go after the move that yields the maximum number of extra men for the computer player. Once I noticed this, I could position myself in more strategic locations on the board and win most of the time. Some moves I made only allowed me to take two or three men, but I also end up choking out options for the computer player while increasing access to more of the board for myself.

I preferred having four players on the board myself – myself and three computer players. This increased the unpredictability of this game and made things much more interesting. I had the odd game here and there where all three computer players decided to gang up on me and eliminate me early on in the match. Probably realized who the biggest threat was after four wins in a row or something. Don’t know.

Another interesting option is the ability to modify the board. You can remove spaces from the board to make it more difficult like inserting a little island in the middle of the board or making the spaces more checker board style. This can add a certain dimension to an otherwise simple game, though I never personally opted to use this feature myself.

What added a great amount of personality to this game was the personality of the animations. For every possible move a player can make, there’s a little animation that goes along with it. Either spot roller blades to the next space, dives into the next space, moon walks to the next space, or whole bunch more. Either way, it added a certain amount of eye candy that turned this game from what could have been a somewhat dull game to an interesting one. The game is still rather short, but it was made interesting and allowed me to play several variations of this game without feeling like it was being a drag.

One thing I was puzzled by was the inclusion of the slot machine. It’s a minigame thrown in the mix, but I’m not entirely sure what you gain by lining up the different graphics in the end. I lined up three spots at one point, but I didn’t really notice anything different about the game.

The graphics were pretty good. The options screen was certainly interesting with it’s somewhat cartoony style of odd angles everywhere. You could even flip the channels on the small television screen in the middle. It has no effect on game play, but it is a nice touch that was thrown in. The animations were also well done. My only nitpick of this game was that, no matter who won, the boards that displayed the letters always had a blue background. Probably would have been better if the backgrounds of the boards matched the players colour. That was pretty much my only critique of this game.

The audio is an interesting element to this game. There was really only three songs to this game – the main theme, the background song for the demo, and the song for when a human player was deciding on a turn. Every animation had it’s own jingle, so there wasn’t very much in terms of dead sound. So, ultimately, this was one of the few games that didn’t need very much in terms of elaborate music. The sound effects and jingles were, believe it or not, sufficient.

Overall, this game is a fun little diversion to play. Yes, it’ll get tiring after an hour or so, but that initial hour actually makes this game worth playing. If you are wanting something to play that’s completely different for a few minutes, I would recommend giving this game a try.


Furthest point in game: Beat the computer player one-on-one. Beat three other computer players at the same time multiple times.

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 5/5

Overall rating: 76%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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