God, I Should Shorten My Titles: Websites and Games for Mahjong

Now that you’re ready to play mahjong, it’s time to try out riichi mahjong. But like every existentialist philosopher, we must ask the one fundamental question: where should we play?

If anyone has recommendations, feel free to comment on this post.

Websites

  • Tenhou — Everyone’s favorite mahjong website. It’s in Japanese but the layout is minimalist and easy to figure out. You can play mahjong with online strangers in ranked matches or with friends in unranked matches at rooms. Tenhou’s servers does hiccup and it auto-discards if you disconnect. Also, if you chi and cause a temporary furiten (say, you chi 2-3-4 and 1 is in your hand) Tenhou will take control and discard the most right-hand tile. The time limit is rough for most beginners, so I don’t recommend playing in the main lobby until you get used to thinking on your feet. You can watch past games and program a room to play with computer players. Free to register, but you can get cool shit like a desktop Tenhou software where you can put backgrounds and stuff if you shell out some yen. Basically the best economical website for riichi mahjong players.
  • GameDesign Mahjong — I recommend this wholeheartedly to any beginner trying out riichi mahjong for the first time. You play against computers and you have no time limit. No installation needed — it’s Adobe Flash. Also, the AI is pretty dumb (until it becomes a cheating asshole).
  • Ron2JP — It’s Tenhou except less snazzier. This is where people used to hang out until Tenhou came out.
  • JoyJan — Would love to talk about it but the e-mail never came. RIP.
  • And some more stuff (includes downloadable games).

Games

    • Saki Portable (PSP) — Yes, this exists. And yes, everyone has Saki powers. This game features everyone from S1 and includes a story mode, which is a VN-styled retelling of the manga and s1 till the regional finals. The story mode’s fairly interesting because it places you onto the same game the characters actually play. And you’re supposed to figure out what the hell to do as a Saki. Or if you’re on Easy Mode, the game tells you which tile to discard. Everyone is voiced except the guys. And Kyoutarou actually exists in the game so rip. Everyone in this game has crazy powers that will never happen in real life and you can use them. It’s more of POWER LEVELZ the game than actual riichi mahjong. But it’s actually kinda fun and there’s a good deal of strategy behind it. Also, you can recreate the regional tournament through a tournament mode. Just don’t play against Kiyosumi because they’re overpowered as fuck. What disappoints me though is the music: they didn’t use the OST from the anime! Instead, we got some trashy elevator music. The VFX aren’t cool-looking either and the character sprites are ripped out from the Gonzo anime. For beginners who want to play real mahjong, try playing as — gasp — Nodoka because her power shows which tile to discard if you’re planning to be a hardcore online player.
    • Achiga Portable (PSP) — As far as I know, it doesn’t exist. Not if Kuso is the most overpowered character in the entire game. Fuck Achiga.
    • Saikyou no Mahjong 3D (PC) — A simple desktop mahjong game with 3D tiles. The music and effects are pretty cool and puts you into that Saki mood. AI can be cheating bastards though.
    • Inflight Mahjong (any good airline) — I tend to travel a lot on plane so I’m pleased someone thought of making a riichi mahjong game for airplanes. There’s a Career Mode where you gain XP if you win. I’ve never went too far with it to know how the XP points are used. But the tiles are minuscule — too tiny to be legible. That’s the only problem and the biggest problem with the game.
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