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Dec 19

Dec 19

Mahjong Tales: Ancient Wisdom Coming To PSN in January

Howard Lehr's Avatar Posted by


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. ;)

Add Your Own

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JordanBlack68 said:

December 19th, 11:05 am

Video isn’t working

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:16 pm

    Works now… sorr if it was slow in coming.

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    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:18 pm

    er, SORRY… darn fat fingers.

Scodo_Thope said:

December 19th, 11:07 am

No Vid, but the pics are purty!


StupidityTries said:

December 19th, 11:08 am

Online co-op?

iokomo said:

December 19th, 11:13 am

yeah, looks kinda coolish and even the dragon has 4 claws! RESPECT for whoever researched that ^_^

Enforcer_X said:

December 19th, 11:16 am

Video isn’t working!
Looking forward to this!

eric1018 said:

December 19th, 11:17 am

Be patient guys. :p Looks funky…in a good way. :)

schwaa said:

December 19th, 11:17 am

whoa. mah-jong is a little played out, but this looks pretty sweet, actually.

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:21 pm

    The played-outness is not an issue. Check out head-to-head motion mode for something that you can\’t get anywhere else, or make your own layouts.

Sehlat said:

December 19th, 11:30 am

Will it support 1080 resolution?



    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 3:39 pm

    The game supports all video modes. I read the site you linked and the main concern there seems to be support for 1080i on CRT hi-def TV\’s that don\’t support 1080p. No sweat there; the game scales everything correctly for 1080i mode and even on a 52 inch screen you will need a bionic eye to see any difference from 1080P. :)

lakaihigh said:

December 19th, 11:38 am

mahjong ps3! that’s just what the doctor ordered. my g/f will love this.


bulleteddy said:

December 19th, 11:39 am


smokey_vols said:

December 19th, 11:40 am

I’ve never played Mahjong before, but maybe i’ll give it a shot with this game.

CrimsonFox13 said:

December 19th, 11:42 am

Wow, I’m totally interested. I love stories that teach something or feel meaningful.

Plus, there’s a fox tale!

Also, the text in the screenshots will be extremely hard to read on a Standard TV, won’t they? :(

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:30 pm

    While pickig the stories out I really enjoyed the fox tales. There are actually enough fox tales to create a whole game or more but we had to give other great story types a chance too.

aiphanes said:

December 19th, 11:43 am

This looks awesome!

ftown said:

December 19th, 11:47 am

I’m imagining an M-rated Mahjong game.

lifeRPGs said:

December 19th, 11:48 am

Hmm interesting..but that video isn’t working.

Comatoes said:

December 19th, 11:59 am

Oh God… don’t tell my wife about this… she’s a Mahjong addict.


She’s coming!!!

seph1r0th00 said:

December 19th, 12:06 pm

I love Mahjong so I’ll be picking this up as soon as it becomes available next month.

eksMAN said:

December 19th, 12:12 pm

cool!! i <3 mahjong!

C-h-a-o-s said:

December 19th, 12:26 pm

Nice I love all things mahjong

ftwrthtx said:

December 19th, 12:31 pm

The PS3 needs more RPGs and this one looks great.

TheInfectedBy590 said:

December 19th, 12:33 pm

Looks nice though I think either 4.99 or 5.99 would be a better price for this game. Also, now that you have a Mahjong game, when’s Go coming to PSN? :p I’d love an online game of Go on my PS3!


December 19th, 12:34 pm

i don’t know how to play mahjong is there a tutorial? i might buy this if the price is right. i buy most psn game when the price is right.

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:35 pm

    There are detailed HELP pages with pictures and step-by-step instructions. We cover all the finer points including the special gold tiles in Tales Mode, Powerups for Motion Mode and even the dtails of how to build your own levels in the level editor. Mahjong is VERY intuitive and our interface is also, so you won\’t have any trouble learning to play.

StalkingSilence said:

December 19th, 12:38 pm

Wait, you are different from Tiki Games, who made NOVASTRIKE? You are just called Tik Games?
Come on, which came first?

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:37 pm

    Yes, we are different. We came first by 5 years or so.

Koroshiya said:

December 19th, 12:38 pm

My soon to be wife is addicted to Mahjong. Once this is released, I can kiss my PS3 goodbye.

tdh said:

December 19th, 12:48 pm

Nothing explicitly mentions Trophies. I’m interested, but this is something more up my sister’s alley. If she likes it, her interest + mine = buy. If you had said Trophies in the above statement I would have bought it on GP!

NEEDZ MOAR TROPHIEZ!!! 205 isn’t enough! So close to Lv.6! Curse you Sony and making my gaming into it’s own RPG! (I <3 U.)

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:43 pm

    We have trophies. Here\’s the list:

    Trophy One
    Name: Who’s the Master?
    Description: Receive Sage, Dragon Slayer, and Infinity and Beyond.
    Points: 30 – Silver
    Trophy Two
    Name: Sage
    Description: Complete all Tales in Ancient Tales Mode.
    Points: 15 – Bronze
    Trophy Three
    Name: Dragon Slayer
    Description: Complete all Levels in Motion Mode.
    Points: 15 – Bronze
    Trophy Four
    Name: Infinity and Beyond
    Description: Complete all 100 different Layouts in Infinity Mode.
    Points: 30 – Silver
    Trophy Five
    Name: Come Out and Play
    Description: Play 50 PSN Games.
    Points: 15 – Bronze
    Trophy Six
    Name: Matchmaker
    Description: Match 2000 sets of Tiles.
    Points: 30 – Silver
    Trophy Seven
    Name: Who Needs Sleep?
    Description: Complete Motion Mode without losing a single Life.
    Points: 30 – Silver
    Trophy Eight
    Name: I Don’t Need No Stinking Power-Ups
    Description: Complete Motion Mode without using Bomb, Cannon Ice and Wild number Power-Ups.
    Points: 15 – Bronze
    Trophy Nine
    Name: Why Stop With Just One?
    Description: Complete a single Tale in Ancient Tales Mode.
    Points: 15 – Bronze

Azmo85 said:

December 19th, 12:49 pm

So we got trophies for this?

MidgetguyII said:

December 19th, 1:04 pm

This game looks kinda cool! I love how you made it more interesting with the art style and the story additions!

Oh, and for everyone else:



Neil said:

December 19th, 1:06 pm

Interesting. I like the story book cutscenes.

BahaFS said:

December 19th, 1:08 pm

For those asking for trophies, check this link: http://www.ps3fanboy.com/2008/11/26/trophies-mahjong-tales/

acerazer1 said:

December 19th, 1:14 pm

Mahjong always pwns my ace, but it still looks pretty cool.

GGCAN said:

December 19th, 1:14 pm

Thanks for the post Howard…looks interesting.

Video is working for me, but I’m viewing on my PC.

ftown said:

December 19th, 1:16 pm

starting in jan all games must support trophies.

jazzyrider said:

December 19th, 1:17 pm

I love Mahjong especially when its an ancient game with a unique feel. can’t wait till next month!

EViD said:

December 19th, 1:33 pm

Is it coming out in Europe as well?

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 1:49 pm

    Yes, the game will come out in Europe. We did 100% of the localization while we developed the game so there is no development-time lag in the release schedule.

Snack_Eeter said:

December 19th, 1:33 pm

LOL at what you said @ #1 Howard :). This game is looking quite intense BTW!

JordanBlack68 said:

December 19th, 1:36 pm

I guess this game does have trophy support and in-game music support :)

Ajora said:

December 19th, 1:40 pm

As embarrassing as it is to say this I think I never played Mahjong… =/

But that will change! I’m very interested^^ thanks for bringing it to us in such an amazing artistic and educational way. Way to go.


yunier91 said:

December 19th, 1:52 pm

nice thanx

Ghostm said:

December 19th, 1:56 pm

I like the instrumental track that’s playing in the background. I don’t know how to play Mahjong but I’ll probably give this a try if it’s the right price.

bitbydeath said:

December 19th, 2:00 pm

Will there be a demo?

Can we use a mouse?

Hows it handle if we can’t use a mouse… controllers are not usually great mouse substitutes… unless you found a way to use the controllers motion to act like a mouse and it works???

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 2:28 pm

    We worked hard on the controls to make the analog stick feel just right. The trick is to apply analog controls in just the right way so stick deflection matters but isn\’t too touchy, add acceleration / deceleration, and carefully tune in snap-to for tiles. Finally, we gave you OPTIONS settings for speed of the cursor etc. so you can fine-tune it to your own preferences.

GORT22 said:

December 19th, 2:04 pm

Will there be a PSP version?


verybadbeetle said:

December 19th, 2:05 pm

Love it! The PSN really needs classic casual games like this. Thanks for bringing games like this to us.

Trieloth said:

December 19th, 2:08 pm

The game looks neat, but its kinda confusing. I do like learning other cultures though. I sure hope theres a demo…

man people are obsessed with tropies. I dont think there bad or anything and I do agreed that there better than acheivments but it shouldnt stop you from buying a game if it dont have it. I would rather have unlockables…you know a new background, sword, gun, outfit, music, etc.

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 2:36 pm

    The game isn\’t confusing at all and the HELP is very robust. You won\’t skip a beat learning to play.

    There are unlockables:
    As you complete levels in Tales (story) Mode, those backgrounds become available for you in Infinity (editor) mode. Also the whole playthrough of Tales Mode is one giant process of unlocking story pieces. These pieces are animated and voiced-over by a GREAT voice actor, so it\’s not just graphics you are unlocking. Finally, as you get deeper into Motion mode, you\’ll experience new powerups, so the gameplay unveils as you go.

jcasanova said:

December 19th, 2:34 pm

That video really convinced me of purchasing the game!!

vasher52 said:

December 19th, 2:36 pm

Good to know this has trophies.Might check this out.

tearsofash said:

December 19th, 2:52 pm

With the impending success of the Mahjong title, you should also make a Go title for the PSN. Everyone loves Go!

SpLinT said:

December 19th, 2:55 pm

I will most likely buy this, but I’m trusting you saying it’s easy to learn….

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 3:55 pm

    Hehe, I\’m glad to have your trust. Seriously, though, this game has survived for so long because it\’s a perfect example of the old cliche\’ \”Easy to learn, difficult to master.\”

jayd1k said:

December 19th, 3:03 pm

is there any way to get a PSP version of this?
the ability to take this on the road would be cool! looking forward to the game.

Nex88 said:

December 19th, 3:04 pm

Sudoku game would be nice I’d get that for sure

Baked said:

December 19th, 3:05 pm

That’s not Mahjong, stop calling it Mahjong, it’s matching tiles. Why don’t you guys make a real Mahjong game? You think it’s too difficult for people outside of Asia to understand the rules? They have Mahjong on Yahoo Games.

    Howard Lehr's Avatar

    Howard Lehr said:

    December 19th, 3:51 pm

    The game uses Mahjong tiles, but you are correct, there is another name for the specific game we chose. There is a legal reason that we and other publishers don\’t use that name. (Hint; it\’s the name of a big city)
    But, legal junk aside, we chose to make this brand of Mahjong game instead of the more card-like Mahjong because of the flexibility it gave us to:
    – introduce cool Ancient stories
    – create a level editor
    – create a new gameplay experience (Motion)

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