Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Video game number one hundred and twenty: Mahjong Wisdom

Video game review number one hundred and twenty in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is"Mahjong Wisdom".

Welcome to part two of "Games my Grandma might have played"

I have never played Mahjong before, so I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I know about it comes from an episode of Seinfeld I saw once where George and Jerry's parents are playing it and his mother wins and says "Mahjong". That's why I thought it should be included as another "Game my Grandma might have played".

I like to imagine that if Grandma had ever owned a PC, this is one of those games she'd have on her taskbar, and she'd probably kick my ass at it. Of course, if she'd ever owned a PC, she also probably would have called me at least once a week to ask why her printer wasn't printing, or where the "any" key was. She was good at puzzles, but I have to imagine she would have been just as confused by her computer as every other person I'm related to is. I actually remember that when Grandma got her first VCR, she would always call my uncle over to reprogram the clock after the power went out. Eventually, he showed me how to do it, and I think that's when I took on my first regular tech support client. She paid well (delicious fried chicken and Atari games), so I couldn't complain.

Anyway, getting back to the game...the version of Mahjong I have here actually doesn't seem anything like the version I saw the Costanzas playing on TV. After a brief visit to Wikipedia (which everyone knows is the definitive source on everything), I found out that this isn't classic "mahjong" at all. This game uses the same tiles, but that's about where the similarities end.

Mahjong Wisdom not really a competitive multiplayer game, it's more of a "match two" kind of thing, where you match two tiles, then they disappear...and you match two more. You do this continuously until each level ends, trying to make sure you never run out of matches...and trying to clear all your titles. As this is a PC game, it's great to play whenever you need a quick break from work, earning achievements as you go. I do love that.

There are a couple of modes...one is just a basic matching game, another is a game where the tiles move (sort of like Zuma) and if you don't match them quick enough, they fall into a fire and your game is over. It should be noted that the game does not have any modes where you can play the traditional Mahjong...so I had to find another title to give that a try. That review is here.

Overall score? It's a solid 8/10. I like this almost as much as Zuma, Bejeweled or any other puzzle game I can think of on my PC. It's great for playing in the background, because you can pause your puzzle and get back to it later. The difficulty in the motion modes is pretty high, but I plan to get better at this one by continuing to play it.

Achievements? I have three so far, but I think these will be the first of more to come...as I'm going to keep on playing this.

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