New Mahjong Treasures of the iPod
- Created on Thursday, 24 February 2011 17:16
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Martin Rep
BRUSSELS - Jo VandeWeghe is just mad about mahjong. He loves to play both live as on the computer. But he was frustrated. The Belgian player has a Apple Macintosh computer - a beautiful device, but with hardly any mahjong software. And he can hardly ever find three friends to play the game ‘live’ with. Thanks to the iPod he now is finally happy: he struck on a wealth of real mahjong games. Jo has become a real collector. An interview with a passionate Belgian.
Mahjong News: You are using a Mac and you are a collector of mahjong games for the Mac, right ?
Jo Vandeweghe: “Yes, I’m using a Mac and before that I was using Atari computers. What you don’t know is me and a friend began programming a true mahjong game for this platform in the late nineties. We never finished the work because Atari ended with the Falcon.
“About the collection, yes you’re right. Since I bought my first Macintosh I tried to collect about any game for this computer and very soon I created a website with true mahjong related pages. I came on the net with my website on 1996.
For the Mac computer, there are not so many real mahjong games… and many of them are quite obsolete, right ?
“Again you’re completely right. Real mahjong games for the Mac are rather rare.
“MahJong Parlour" was a great game but today it’s impossible to run it under Mac OS X. The same thing happened to “Shanghai Dynasty” and “Second Dynasty” which were the best games on the Mac at their time. Nevertheless it’s still possible today to play with Shanghai Dynasty on a PC. I installed mine on my XP partition.
“Of course you can always use Damejong 4 which uses riichi rules. A friend of mine in the USA, Don Schaper, created MahJong Tradition, a wonderful mahjong game but he never tried to apply the traditional rules to his game explaining he only wanted many people to have access to this rather complicated game. Agenda MahJong has a really magnificent 3D user interface and is still supported on Mac OS X. After that the only one left is Simple!Jang and Simple!JangPlus, both also existing on iOS.
“The obsolete ones are : Souryu 2 and AI Mahjong, both riichi rules based.
To have a complete overview of these real mahjong Mac games look at :
What computer games do you like the best ?
“On the Mac I sometimes play Agenda Mahjong. I succeeded to complete the full game about six times. But riichi rules are yet a problem for me. At the moment I really prefer to play some very interesting games on my iPod Touch 4G.
So now, for the iPhone you have discovered a whole bunch of real mahjong games… How can you explain there are many more than for the computer?
“Well, I suppose the fact is Apple iPhone international market penetration. It is not unusual to find such phones in China right now. Without speaking about Japan. So our Asian friends never worked so hard to port their games on these beasties.
“But don’t expect the games are always translated. Chinese and Japanese language often is the rule on theses games. It’s also quite difficult to find them on the App store because some titles even don’t have an English name! But I think I found them all.
So you bought 36… and which ones do you like the best? Which ones do you play the most often?
“The page is now updated and there are 38, Martin! **) Fortunately, there are many games existing in a “lite” version. So I was able to try many of them before deciding to buy them or not. I bought twenty of them. Especially the ones with great graphics and playability.
“Among the “many” games I play with is a special case; it’s “MahJong!”. This game is the only one I know which uses hand interaction while claiming or discarding tiles .. in fact you play just like the real way you play. You have to act very fast to take the tile you need. You can rearrange your tile set manually and discarded tiles may appear completely mixed in the center of the game table. Icing on the cake is that the game uses Hong Kong rules! Very interesting game, and completely in English.
“Computer Mahjong” uses very nice detailed graphics I love it so much. Not everything is translated but an effort has been done recently. Riichi rules.
“Net Jankyo” looks like Computer Mahjong but in a different way. Completely in Japanese. It’s not always easy to find the way to the game table but while it’s done. Wow, what a nice game!
“HK BG MahJong 港男港女麻雀” is a very funny game not completely translated. It allows you to play with Japanese (or Chinese?) children who have very strong reactions when they win or when they lose.
“King Of Mahjong” has stunning graphics, but seems too easy for me.
“麻雀部へようこそ！2 - Gaia Corp. mahjong 2” is an excellent riichi game with a good user interface, but completely in Japanese. If you don’t understand this language, then you’ll miss a big part of the game, with its separate dialogs between the characters when not playing.
“國士無雙~亂世英雄篇~”is a special “adventure” game .. you are travelling into China and have to win to progress through the cities, when the first trip is done you get another.
I think many of them are riichi games… are there any other types: riichi? Hong Kong? Classical? MCR?
“Yes, there are many kinds. The most important is riichi although you can have some really good Hong Kong ruled games. Classical is more rare. Sometimes I found games using 16 tiles rather than 14 in a hand. Also remarkable are “SG Mahjong”, a Singapore ruled game and “KL MahJong”, a Kuala Lumpour ruled game.“Also some games are intended to be played online .. some of them very nicely drawn like “東風荘 VS online.”
“You can find all the related upper games and a short description of them here :
You do not play live mahjong often?
“Again you’re absolutely right. It has been impossible for me to get three friends to play a real live game with real tiles since a lot of years. So I play as much as possible on my iPod today. Before that I was playing two games on my Psion 5mx and after on my Palm devices. Today the spectacular retina display of the iPod and iPhone really make the difference. Maybe I’ll get an iPad one of these days to play more comfortably. Most of the iPhone games do exist for the iPad and some are exclusively made for it. Here I rather speak about “Shanghai games”; that’s a complete other world which, in my opinion, is less interesting.
“I reported 63 shangai games foe iOS until now, you can find them all here :