And the winner is…
- Created on Saturday, 29 May 2010 12:07
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Adrie van Geffen
For about three months, Mahjong News correspondent Adrie Van Geffen has searched the Internet for the best servers to play mahjong online. He struggled his way through Japanese interfaces or had to deal with people walking away since they could not win anymore. Now, he draws up the balance sheet: who, after this time, has become his favorite?
First some background information. I learned to play mahjong in 1977, played for about four years and discovered mahjong players in the Netherlands in 1999. Since then I have played about a hundred tournaments, including championships in China, Denmark and Austria.
I bought my first computer in 1981 and it has been my most used equipment ever since. I got connected to internet in 1994, the days when you had to use a modem and phone and had to hurry, because time was (a lot of) money.
Nowadays a lot of people are diagnosed Asperger or another form of autism. I’m too old for that, so I’ll just keep on being shy, uncomfortable in company, perfectionist, nervous, irritable, critical, depressed and often badly humoured.
Besides that I like to smoke continuously, have a drink, play loud music and dislike traveling and getting up early.
All my bad habits coincide with playing online and more or less disagree with playing live. I purchased ‘Four Winds Mahjong’ in it’s early days (even gave some input in the development) and had contacts with Julian Fitch (Nine Dragons). In 2005 I found a site where I could play mahjong: Mahjong Time. It needed a lot of corrections on rules and some perks to make it more interesting. A lot of my ‘suggestions’ were taken on. Sadly enough I am still awaiting the special membership Martin Scheichenbauer is enjoying, wondering what he had to do for it (see: http://www.mahjongnews.com/en/index.php/nieuws/people/336-nobody.html).
One tends to get spoiled. After a while a lot of players thought Mahjong Time to be too slow and connections wouldn’t hold up. Tenhou came into view. A bit later I got spam mentioning Kong88, offering free money and I got some of it. But there had to be more sites and I made my survey.
I have done restaurant reviews on my website for about six years. Not being a culinary expert, I reviewed with criteria besides taste, like clean toilets, service, atmosphere and price. Setting up criteria for reviews of mahjong sites and grading them like I did with the restaurants was too much of a strain. So I just limited myself to some impressions, the ease of use and the general ‘feel’ of the sites. The thing I found hardest was to overcome the language barrier. It just takes too much effort to get an idea of what is going on on the Japanese sites.
And being asked which site I prefer I have to say that I stick to Mahjong Time. A lot of people playing there I have met later on in real life. It’s a friendly site, with possibilities to communicate and it’s relaxed. Besides that it is one of the few sites where you play not as an extension of a computer program telling you to hit a button, but approaches the real thing by letting you make mistakes leading to faulty declarations. And deep down, considering my own characteristics, I more or less prefer playing online above playing in real life…