Ishido: The Way of Stones

From Sega Retro


IshidoTheWayOfStones MDTitleScreen.png

Ishido: The Way of Stones
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Accolade
Original system(s): Macintosh
Developer(s) of original games: Publishing International
Genre: Puzzle

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Non-Sega versions

Ishido: The Way of Stones (or Ishidó) is an unlicensed Sega Mega Drive puzzle game developed and published by Accolade. A port of the 1990 Publishing International computer game Ishido: The Way of Stones, it was released exclusively in the United States later that year.

It is one of few commercially-released Sega Mega Drive games to fail the system's TradeMark Security System test (refusing to operate with anything but the earliest Mega Drive hardware or by using a pass-through cartridge like the Game Genie).


The game purports to be based on an ancient board game, discovered in the ruins of several lost civilizations. Included is a 30-page booklet with a story of a Chinese monk named Fei Mi-jai who meets a Western "sorcerer" and recounts to him the legend of the "Ancient Game of Stones."

The Chinese called it Shih Tao, the ancient Celts called it Runa futhark, the Mayan Indians called it Kami-a-hota, and the Japanese called it Ishidó. Yet, regardless of origin, when translated the names all mean one thing, The Way of Stones.

— US booklet [2]

However, the history and the legend (as well as the supposedly Japanese word "Ishidó") are fabricated.


Ishido MD, Gameplay.png


Ishido is a puzzle board game, played on a board that is eight spaces high by twelve spaces wide. The player is given pieces, called stones, one at a time in a randomized order. Every stone has two characteristics: a color and a symbol. There are six colors and six symbols in each stone set, creating 36 unique stones. Each stone comes in a pair, for a total of 72 stones in each stone set. The goal of the game is to place all 72 stones onto the game board of 96 spaces. Stones must be placed adjacent to others that they match, either by color or symbol, according to certain rules. As the board fills with stones, these rules becomes more difficult to meet.

The game uses a cursor that can be moved across the board using the D-Pad. The player grabs a stone by moving the cursor to the "touchstone" in the top-right of the screen (without pressing any other buttons). The player can then move the cursor back onto the board and place the stone in any valid space with A.

The player can open a game menu with  START  with options to start a new game or restart the current game (with the same randomized order for the stones). The player can open a help menu with C containing options to show the "pouch" (showing all of the remaining stones in order, with their colors and symbols) or show all possible moves (if the player is stuck). Using either form of assistance foregoes the opportunity to replace the high score. The game shows the number of stones remaining in the pouch (though not their color or symbol) in the bottom-right corner of the screen. There are multiple differently themed stone sets, which can be cycled with B.


Stones can only be placed according to these rules:

  • When a stone is placed adjacent to one other stone, it must match by either color or symbol. This is called a 1-Way and worth 1 point.
  • When a stone is placed adjacent to two stones, it must match one by color and the other by symbol. This is called a 2-Way and worth 2 points.
  • When a stone is placed adjacent to three stones, it must match two stones by one attribute and one stone by the other attribute. This is called a 3-Way and worth 4 points.
  • When a stone is placed adjacent to four stones, it must match two stones by color and two stones by symbol. This is called a 4-Way and worth 8 points.

Each 4-Way successfully placed doubles the scoring for the rest of the game, so creating as many 4-Ways as possible as early as possible is key to achieving a high score.

The board has two sections: the Within, which are the light-colored spaces that comprise the majority of the board, and the Beyond, which are the dark-colored spaces that form the perimeter. Only matches made in the Within award points.

Every game starts with two stones already placed in the center of the board and four stones placed in the four corners of the board. Each of the six opening stones has a different symbol and color, so that any other stone can be placed in a valid way according to these rules.



The game is the first unlicensed game produced by Accolade for the Mega Drive and thus formed the basis for the Sega v. Accolade lawsuit.

Production credits

  • Designed by: Michael Feinberg
  • Original Program Produced by: Brad Fregger
  • Sega Version Programmed by: Mike Lorenzen
  • Sega Version Produced by: Sam Nelson
  • Technical Design by: Ian Gilman
  • Original Graphic by: Michael Feinberg, Brodie Lockard
  • Sega Graphics by: Beckett Gladney
  • Legend by: Michael Feinberg
  • Manual by: Michael Feinberg, Jeff Wagner
  • Testing by: Sam Nelson
US manual
Ishido MD US Manual.pdf

Magazine articles

Main article: Ishido: The Way of Stones/Magazine articles.

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
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Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming (UK) NTSC-U
Mega Play (US) NTSC-U
MegaTech (UK) NTSC-U
Micromanía (segunda época) (ES)
Power Play (DE) NTSC-U
Sega Power (UK) NTSC-U
Sega Pro (UK) NTSC-U
Tricks 16 bit (RU)
User (GR) NTSC-U
Video Games (DE)
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
11 reviews

Ishido: The Way of Stones

Mega Drive, US
Ishido MD US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngIshido MD US Box Front.jpg
Ishido MD US Cart.jpg
Ishido MD US Manual.pdf
The Way of Stones US Book.pdf
Mega Drive, ES
Ishido MD US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngIshido MD US Box Front.jpg
Ishido MD US Cart.jpg

Technical information

Main article: Ishido: The Way of Stones/Technical information.

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 b1de7d5e
MD5 30ee5ae0e2a4b2995a79173f67278c69
SHA-1 3bd159e323d86e69031bf1ee9febeb6f9bb078d4
128kB Cartridge (US)


NEC Retro has more information related to Ishido: The Way of Stones

Ishido: The Way of Stones

IshidoTheWayOfStones MDTitleScreen.png

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