‘This is not Four Winds Mah Jong’
- Created on Friday, 25 September 2009 07:50
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Martin Rep
HELSINKI - It is offered as a game for the iPhone: Four Winds Mah Jong. But this is not the popular game for the personal computer which many mahjong diehards use to practice their skills.
‘Four Winds Mah Jong’ is a creation of TomTom Labs and not by the the author of the pc game with the same name, Arto Tenkanen. But Arto is not going to do anything about it. He just shrugs his shoulders. “What can I do?”
Mahjong games for the computer are quite rare - and consequently also for the iPhone and other mobiles. Most 'mahjong' games that are offered via the App Store for the iPhone, are solitaire games, the objective of which is to click away similar tiles. For the computer, there are just a few ‘real games’. Quite popular are Hong Kong Mahjong for Windows (Hong Kong rules), Berrie Bloem’s The Real Game (Chinese Classical) and, last but not least, FourWinds Mah Jong by Arto Tenkanen from Finland.
The latter is the most versatile piece of software, with over twenty different pre-defined rule presets, including Taiwanese 16 tile mahjong and American ‘mah’ with up to eight joker tiles - plus the option to add almost any other rule set. Numerous people learned new mahjong variations by playing Arto Tenkanen’s Four Winds Mah Jong. The only drawback of the game, if any, is that it is rather easy to win, once you have mastered a particular variant.
Four Winds only runs on a Windows PC. Due to a lack of time, Arto never made a version for the Macintosh platform, although he did make a version for the handheld (It is still available for Windows Mobile, even if it does not support square screens or resolutions other than SVGA and VGA). “I would very much like to implement a Mac version”, he says, “but as the Mac platform is very different from Windows, much of the code needs to be rewritten.”
He thinks there is little one can do against TomTomLabs for ‘borrowing’ the name of his software game. He did not copyright the name Four Winds Mah Jong. “As you know, mahjong is sometimes called a ‘game of four winds’, so I guess we cannot claim copyright on the name. I suppose there are hundreds of mahjong solitaires out there, too, with exactly the same name. I think that Berrie Bloem's game was also sold some time with the name ‘Mahjongg the Game of Four Winds’.”
Website of Four Winds Mah Jong by Arto Tenkanen