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By Tom Sloper (トム•スローパー)
2008年 9月 21日
Column #381

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Continuing the story of the old handheld mahjong device I bought at a thrift shop. I feel bad that I paid so little for it due to a misunderstanding of its workings, but to drive all the way back there...?

Playing mahjong on Perfect Mahjong II is pretty intuitive. The dot matrix displays the three suits as dots, sticks, and Chinese numerals. Your hand is always shown at the bottom of the display. And each tile in your hand is labeled from A through N. The machine has buttons also labeled A through N, and there are buttons labeled (in katakana) Pon, Chii, Kan, Riichi, and Agari.

The N button is multi-purpose; it's sub-labeled Tsumo, and it's used to pass on taking a discard or to discard the freshly-taken tile. The Pon, Chii, and Kan buttons are sub-labeled S1, S2, and S3. I don't know what those functions are, or when those functions are available for selection.

When you turn it on, the device starts by telling you some things in katakana, and then it deals and autoplays until you press N. I can read katakana, but slowly. Often, the messages it displays go away before I can read them. That includes score information after someone wins, unfortunately. So I often don't get a chance to digest the information.

One of the things I was wondering, because it's so old, was whether the device would play Japanese Classical or Japanese Modern. Riichi was already a feature of Japanese Classical, as documented in books from the 1960's. But what about dora and yaku? Would those be features of this 1984 device? I found out soon enough that they were.

The game was surprisingly easy to play, as long as your eyesight is good enough to make out the dots suit. Even at high contrast, those dots are pretty small and hard to make out for these old eyes.

When you win, the game rewards you with:

アナタ ノ カチ デス。 ヤリマシタ ネ。

Anata no kachi desu. Yarimashita ne. ("It's your win. You performed!")

Because it's old-tech, unfortunately it can't play a pretty reward tune or anything fancier than some text. But at least it gives me something to play mahjong on when my Nintendo DS is recharging.


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© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.