Version 1.0 of The Real Mah Jong was published on the Cover Disk of PC Plus in February 1993 (it was actually submitted long before that) when over 95,000 copies of the program were distributed as shareware. Copies have been registered in the UK, Finland, Switzerand, Africa, Australia and so on. The program is intended to teach people how to play the real game, the expensive, sometimes handmade game that comes in a large box or even a cabinet. Usually, the rules that come with these sets are not as clear as they could be so my simulator fills in the gaps by being an experienced opponent or three, never complaining that you are taking too long to make your move.
On the right, you can see a screen shot that illustrates the layout of the game on the screen. The player's hand is at the bottom and is sorted for you (as you would do so in the real game with pairs and so on on the left and odd cards and runs on the right so that you should always tend to discard from the right of the hand - this turns out to be quite a strong strategy) with any declared hands in the four spaces above (again as you would have in the real game), one for each wind - East, South, West and North - the wall remaining is represented by the bar across the middle underneath the declared hands. Note that in the real game, you would arrange the wall to make a square - here, for the sake of clarity, convenience and available space, it is represented as a progress bar.
The cards that have been put down are inserted into the row at the top with the most recent discarded card at the right. If a player removes the last discarded card, you do not get to see the card that was on the left (just gone out of view) as this has already been turned over (as it would be in the real game - when I have played it, a row of discarded cards at a time were turned over but never revealed again - you have to remember what has gone).
The game may be speeded up or slowed down by pressing the [+] or [-] keys whilst others are playing their turns. The quickest game (9) does not allow you to keep track of what goes on with the other hands in terms of who is picking up what but it resembles a very fast game played with a lot of interruptions - then next slowest (8) allows 1 second between each movement in the game and allows you to see what goes on although I would recommend even slower for the novice. Help is available from the main menu where the rules are explained with examples as appropriate. Highest scores and game resuts are also kept.
As all of this is rather absorbing, the computer's clock is displayed on the upper right. The background of the table may be changed by adding a different number to the command line (eg, MJ.EXE 7 will give the screen above but putting a different number in will give a different result - no number will leave a dark background.
Having taken into account the feedback from the user population, version 2.0 is now available, essentially the same as version 1.0 (the logistics of the game itself haven't changed) except that it now supports the mouse. This upgrade is free to registered users of version 1.0 and is available to everybody else as shareware now.
The program is available in the form of a .ZIP file (approximately 120K long) which you can download or I can send to you as an e-mail attachment.
Over 29,000 downloads
The Real Mah Jong is VERY ADICTIVE simulation of the real game of Mah Jong. The author can accept no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of using or misusing the files provided.