Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom Coming To PSN in January

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A big ‘hello’ to all of the PlayStation blog readers out there! We at TikGames have been laboring away on this game for quite a while and it’s a relief to finally be able to tell you all about the fantastic stories and artwork it contains.

You see, one of the keys things about Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom for PS3 (available on PSN in early January for $9.99) is right there in the name. There are three modes to the game, each offering a unique experience. In Ancient Tales mode, each piece of an old Chinese story is revealed when the player finishes a layout by matching the one pair of golden tiles on the board. So, if you want to see the end of the story, you have to play your way through it and unlock the next episode. The stories are meant to add to the enjoyment of the classic game and pass along some ancient wisdom from one of the world’s great cultures.

Now, keep in mind that there are hundreds of Chinese tales out there, all of which offer insights that we the players would value. However, many of them contain story elements that aren’t exactly ‘clean’ by modern standards. It was important to us to select stories that were meaningful, but that also would pass ESRB considerations. Can you imagine an M-rated Mahjong game?!

In the end, we selected five Chinese morality tales, entitled “The Fox,” “Tiger Shoes,” “The Magic Paintbrush,” “The Man Who Moved Mountains” and “Li Chi.” Then, we boiled them down into ten-part sections with the help of Heather Lehr, a Hollywood writer, making the stories understandable and enticing to the player as he progresses through each tile layout. Each teaches something about human nature – I won’t spoil it for you, but the stories grapple with important considerations like deceit, love, kindness to strangers, and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Then, we set about illustrating each story. Each background image was drawn by hand to give it that authentic look. We really wanted people to feel like they were visiting a wise old person who was proudly showing off an ancient, priceless hand-drawn book of traditional tales. You can’t beat having paper translated directly to the screen to get that effect. The PS3’s sheer graphical power was the perfect fit for these images. Just knowing that there was that look and feel that we wanted to achieve, and that the PS3 would help us do it, meant that we never had to consider any style but the one we used…the vision, artistry and technology all came together smoothly.

Here’s a few images to give you the idea:




There you have it. I hope this gives you a little peek inside the Ancient Tales portion of Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom. Don’t forget, though, that that is just one gameplay mode available; there are two entirely different modes out there that I haven’t even touched upon: Motion mode (“action Mahjong,” complete with wild power-ups and crazy-fast mechanics) and a level editor planned for building and sharing levels via PSN, along with a whole pile of pre-made levels from Yours Truly. I’ll leave the possibilities to your imagination for the moment. ;)

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13 Author Replies

  • I must congratulate you on making a complete game that has trophies and custom soundtracks. Maybe you could help the people who made Crash Commando, Echochrome, and the guys at Capcom to at least get custom soundtracks.

  • Can you imagine an M-rated Mahjong game?

    Chuuka na Janshi Tenho Painyan: Remix for the PSP and DS comes pretty close, although it sneaks past with only a CERO 15 rating. So, yes, I can imagine an M-rated Mahjong game.

    As for Mahjong Tales, I’m interested in the stories and artwork, but it looks like “Mahjong-solitaire”, not real Mahjong.

  • Can I imagine an M-rated Mahjong game? Unfortunately yes. No, not unfortunately like it would be bad if you made one, but it would be unfortunate that we decide to limit access to literature because its in a video game.

    I was reading books back in high school wherein characters were violent or had sex lives, sometimes a little perverse too, as part of the curriculum. Somehow though, the ESRB would manage to make a distinction from art or literature when it happens as part of a video game.

  • The music, price, trophies and visuals look stunning but the game looks way too confusing. I would start explaining the game now to get people more interested or provide some tips.

  • Thank you for this great game! I’m looking forward to buying it. Also, HUGE thanks to TikGames, and the way you are handling this release. First, you are supporting the standard stuff out of the box (trophies, in-game music); too many games have to fix this with a “patch”. Second, you did a GREAT writeup on the game and are responding to comments with insightful responses. Very impressed! I look forward to more from TikGames.

  • I think it’s great that you guys are selling this game for 10 bucks. Seem’s limited in story, which begs the question if there will be more DLC addons later. If there’s one thing I hate is a game that draws you in with a good price and then rips you off with additional addons. I hope if you do plan to add, it is free. Or maybe I should wait a month and see if I there’s a DLC that pops up a few days later for 1.99 or 2.99? Whatever you do, don’t pull an “Electronic Arts” over us. We’re not falling for that.

  • Thanks for the reply regarding the 1080 issue.

    FYI the problem is that many PS3 games are only coded to support 720p. If this resolution is not available the games downscale to 480.

    I’ve added you as a Yes to our 1080 support list.

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