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Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2023 12:38 pm

One of the curious things about GEOS one comes to understand over time is that the vast majority of games made for the platform seem to fall into one of just a few categories:
  • Cards (Blackjack, Solitaire, etc.)
  • Tiles (Mahjong, Tetris)
  • Board Games (Checkers, Backgammon, etc.)
In other words, a visit to the old folks home. ;)

And then there are a handful of "action games" but they aren't going to generally blow you away. Not when you've got a C64 at your fingertips, or an Amiga a few inches away on the same desk.

That being said, the past month has been stressful enough for me to not have the mental capacity to invest in deep-dive adventure games, complex simulations or anything too action packed jacking the bass. In fact, "old school" games like Mahjong have really hit a sweet spot. That could change in a week or two but for now it has allowed me to explore this area of gaming I've honestly never even seen inside GEOS before.

The game of Mahjong for GEOS that I discovered was created by Irv Cobb of Omaha, Nebraska, in 1988. He made it for 40 columns. But, in 1995 a "VDC" version was made for 80-column mode. You start to see VDC used a bit like a label as you hunt for games as a nod that it'll work in 80-cols or not. To be honest the catalog is not very deep. But when you do find a VDC game, they can sometimes be pretty nice.

Take a look at the VDC version of Mahjong, complete with partial color and sound effects.
The colors are supposed to represent a tile's depth in the form of a splotchy pyramid. After 1-2 games you get used to it. Also note the GEOS "borrowed" tile graphics. They were taken from various GEOS PD icons, as the developer admitted he had no artistic skills. You read this fact when the game first launches. After a while, I grew to rather enjoy the unusual tile art.

That delicious pain when you get so close, but not close enough.

My only beef with this game is the game never ends on its own when you run out of tile options. You have to kind of sit there and stare at the screen and wonder if you should restart the game or not, or if you're just being blind and not seeing what's right in front of your face. Otherwise, I'd give this game a solid A+. As it is, it's still a great port and a fun low-stress time waster. The entire game, with all of the little icons and the single sound effect eat up a total of 15KB.

I've attached a Zip of the both 40 and 80 column Mahjong games to this post, along with the other game that was originally bundled on the same disk, Cluster Wars, which I've not tried yet. :joystick:
(76.35 KiB)

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