Ataxx 64

Ataxx 64 is a homebrew game for the Nintendo 64 by Pookae released on 25 April 1999. It’s a puzzle/board game where you move pieces around a grid in order to cover as many squares as possible with your colour. It was released to compete in the Presence of Mind ’99 competition, where it came in 10th. Nice!

You can get the ROM from its download page by using the password pookaepie.

Ataxx 64 style and gameplay

As the name implies, Ataxx 64 follows in the footsteps of the classic Ataxx arcade game. It reminds me of the Othello board game and has a similar objective: Cover the board with as many pieces having your colour as possible. You can move a piece to an adjacent tile, creating a copy; or move it two spaces away which leaves its original space empty. This lets each player play either defensively or aggressively.

When you move a piece, all adjacent enemy pieces change to your colour so the strategy in Ataxx 64 is to get as many conversions as possible while reducing your vulnerabilities as much as possible.

All levels

The game has 53 levels to choose from. Some of them have a lot of obstacles and one of them even has none at all.

In-game instructions

The objective of the game is for your team to acquire the most squares. The game is played until all squares are occupied.

Grey pad = Move Cursor
A = Select/Deselect
C = Move Camera
Stick = Rotate Board
L + Stick = Pan Board
Start = Pause/Quit

While the CPU is taking its turn, or the game is over, Controller 0 has control of camera and board rotation.

Pieces are moved by selecting the piece to be moved, then selecting its destination. Pieces can move in a 2-unit square radius. Moves to adjacent squares spawn a new piece, while moves of more than one square will cause the pieces to merely jump. If a move is available to you, you MUST take a turn, and if no move exists your turn will be skipped. Moves cannot wrap around the board edges.

Whenever you move, each enemy piece which is touching the piece you just moved will become your piece. If all of your pieces are eliminated, then your player is eliminated from the game.

Team play:
Teams can be configured any way you see fit. Go three-on-one against the computer, or give yourself a computer partner and take on your friends. Teams are designated by color. If one team player is eliminated, the team still goes on until all players are eliminated or the game ends. You can not (and should not) attack your own team.

Game speed:
Since the game is in hi-res mode the game reaches a point where the scan-converter can’t keep up with the geometry engine, and the game slows down. If you want it to move a little faster, you can dolly the camera away from the gameboard which will relieve the rasterizer a bit. My modelling skills are not top notch, so the pieces are a bit too complex geometrically to quickly draw all of them at once. Low-res mode is fast, but looks cheesy.

Tie games are possible. The moves the computer makes may seem irrational at times. It is programmed to always try and get the most pieces it can, which at times may not seem like the best idea.

Instructions page


All programming and graphics by Pookae [email protected]

Ataxx is (C)1990 by Leeland Corporation. AI engine adapted from XAtaxx writtern by Steven Clifford, Jim Zelenka, and Andrew Plotkin.

All graphics were developed in Adobe Photoshop and Kinetix 3D Studio Max. All graphics conversions were done with my VRML-Nintendo Utility Toolkit (VNUT).

Thanks to the Dextrose crew for running a top-notch web site and hosting POM.

Special thanks to: The Dynamix crew for sprite examples, to Nintendo for making me say “Why the fsck isn’t this working?!?” so many times, and to everyone else who helped me.

Enjoy the game.


Review and conclusion

Ataxx 64 is a faithful adaptation of the original arcade game, this time ported to a 3D engine. It’s cool to see it have some 3D animations with the pieces flying through the air, even if it can lag the game up especially as the board starts to fill up.

The main technical issue with the game is that on occasion a match will start by opponents moving twice, making all the other players play the rest of the match at a somewhat unfair disadvantage. Also when the match ends, the last move isn’t counted towards the final tally.

The computer player’s AI is set to always play the move that would cause the most damage, but this isn’t necessarily the best move in every occasion. You can take advantage of this when the right opportunity presents itself since an attack wont be retaliated if there’s a juicier opportunity elsewhere.

Overall, Ataxx 64 is a fun game that is easy to learn but hard to win against a opponent with a decent strategy. It’s one of those game where the further ahead you are, the stronger your opponent’s moves become so it is quite balanced in that way. Give it a go, there’s over 50 board configurations to explore.

Articles across the web

Ataxx 64 is a hombrew game for the N64 in which you place pieces on a board in order to convert your opponent's pieces and win the game.
Article published on N64 Squid


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