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Bruno Agafonov
Bruno Agafonov

Enjoy Ron Balewski Mahjong: A Beautiful and Addictive Game of Strategy

Mah Jongg -V-G-A- is a simple mahjong solitaire game in VGA 640x480x16 graphics. The tiles are clean and easy to tell apart, the game includes a hint system and certain customizations like the option to change the background colour, and selectable tile sets.Author Ron Balewski originally sold Mah Jongg -V-G-A- as shareware, but declared the game freeware in 2005 alongside additional tile sets that used to be sold on three separate add-on disks. A Windows version of the game is also included.

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Speaking of the original mahjong, it's a serious table game played usually by four people. The legends say it it was invented by the philosopher Confucius himself around 500 BC. Just like chess, it managed to become an official sport. As a pastime, it's most popular in Japan and China, but it was also imported into the western countries. Comparing mahjong solitaire with the original mahjong would be like comparing Tetris with the hardcore strategy Hearts of Iron. The moment when I realized just how hard this game can be for a newcomer to understand was when I watched a 26-episode anime entirely about mahjong called Akagi. Despite the main character's psychological prowess, my comprehension level of the rules was still close to zero.

Gameplay-wise this little piece of software is an addictive time waster; though it's not because Ron Balewsky did something revolutionary. The game follows the well-established conventions of its predecessors, but it's addictive because that's how mahjong solitaire generally is: it relates to most categories of people, regardless of age and gender, and anyone can finish a session in their 15-minute break. This way it's very difficult for me to come up with a score and give it a final verdict. While Mah Jongg VGA features only one stack, the typical pyramid "Dragon", in Shanghai II: The Dragon's Eye which came out around the same time (1989) you can choose between many other arrangements. Variety is pretty much what Mah Jongg VGA lacks. It does feature a tile editor, but user-generated content can't really be considered when reviewing the original package. Other elements which are subpar, like the unimpressive beeping sounds can be ignored, but after winning more than a dozen times, it's unlikely you'll return for another session.

Here are listed every shareware / trialware solitaire mahjongg I'm aware of. Do you know about other shareware solitaire mahjongg games? Please, let me know... Due to lack of server space, I can not offer all files for download.Visit the games' homepage to download. If any links are dead and you'reunable to download a game, please contact me, and I will make the gamefile available for download.

I'm sorry: I'm not had the time yet to incorporate all the games alphabetically yet - so here they come alphabetically within each section: Freeware, Shareware, Commercial (the three first solitaire mahjongg games), Shisen-Sho, Ishido, Other games.

4 different games: Game of Four Winds SE (limited version of Berry Bloem's true mahjongg game), RahJongg (limited version of 'Curse of Ra' with only 22 levels), Solitaire (70 backgrounds and 18 tilesets) and Rivers (Shisen-Sho).

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