The third mahjong game released for the Famicom platform, Professional Mahjongg Gokuu brought some new and fairly impressive twists and innovations to what could be considered the first wave of mahjong games to sweep the 8-bit Nintendo platform.
Professional Mahjong Gokuu
Japanese Title: プロフェッショナル 麻雀悟空
English Release: none
Release Date: December 26, 1986
Publisher: ASCII Corporation
Developer: Chat Noir
Product Code: ASC-GKU
Disk Format: Double-sided
Notable Credits: None
Based upon the popular Chinese/Japanese tile based board game, Professional Mahjong Gokuu is the second mahjong game released for the Famicom DIsk System after the Nintendo published and developed Mahjong.
Professional Mahjong Gokuu actual does bring a few fresh ideas and innovations to the computer simulation of this popular, exclusively Asian game. Professional Mahjong Gokuu enables four simultaneous players to play the game, one player controlled and three AI powered. This is unusually for the time, due to the significant computing power required to provide intelligent strategy for three simultaneous AI controlled players, and remains a feat of programming prowess given the limitations of the Nintendo 8-bit hardware.
The other major innovation to Professional Mahjong Gokuu is what put the ‘Professional’ into the title. The game features a game mode wherein the player can bet on the outcome of hands and the win/loss outcome of each game. Betting on your hand varies your winning depending on the quality of said hand, while betting on the win/loss outcome nets a fixed sum.
Professional Mahjong Gokuu features an interface and graphical fidelity comparable to other mahjong games, keeping with the traditional look of an actually physical play through of the game.
There are enough flourishes in Professional Mahjong Gokuu to peak the interest of even seasoned 8-bit mahjong aficionados, although you are unlikely to meet any outside of Japan.