Gone in a Flash: Saying Goodbye to Our Favourite Mahjong Flash Games

With December 31, 2020 being the end of life date for Adobe Flash and all Flash content being blocked on January 12, 2021, let’s take a look at the how mahjong flash software and games have changed us and guided us along our mahjong journey.

“That Flash Game”

The place where many mahjong veterans started, the place of nostalgia for many, is “That Flash Game”. Whenever someone wants to learn how to play, when they need an easy CPU game where they can take their time, we point them to “That Flash Game”.

With a list of yaku below, you learned bit by bit the list of yaku. You read about a yaku, you tried to apply it and you learn whether or not it was easy to get. You got a good idea about how the game progressed, learned about round and seat winds, and learned that the dora was the tile after, not the actual tile in the middle.

This game, hosted on gamedesign.jp, was the first place where I learned mahjong. Even with the dreaded “No multiplier” pop-up, I stuck through and learned how to play riichi.

The Japanese language version of the game has been converted to HTML5, but the English language one has yet to be.

If you want to play the English version, you can download the .swf file and play it using the Adobe SWF File Player. As long as the file (the Gamedesign .swf file) that you give the File Player is safe, then it shouldn’t be a security risk.

Tenhou Flash

The first multiplayer riichi game I played was on the Tenhou.net Flash client. Frustrated by kuikae and always missing the shouminkan opportunity, the Tenhou Flash client helped me see what I needed to pay attention to in in-person games and what I needed to improve on. It also made me appreciate the beauty of blue-backed tiles.

Tenhou created an HTML5 version back in 2015, though it is a different experience than the flash version. The Tenhou Windows application is also available, but requires a membership to be used past 6kyuu

In late 2020, Tsuno (the creator of Tenhou) came out with a new web version called Desktop4K, which looks to emulate the look and feel of the desktop client. As of this writing, players can play on the Desktop4K for free in the Ippan and Joukyuu tables.


Every time any of us had a chinitsu hand, we would take a long time to figure out if we were in tenpai and what our waits were. It would be a miracle if we could choose our discard in under 30 seconds. For some of us, we tried to avoid chinitsu hands altogether because of this dilemma.

Paired up with “that flash game”, there was the bamboo game. It was a game where you faced off against a computer and played mahjong, except only the bamboo suit was used. Each turn, you were given the choice to call riichi, tsumo or just discard a tile. With each discard, you had a choice to call ron. With the system allowing you to chombo, you had to pay close attention to whether it was your winning tile or if you were in furiten. If you managed to get your score to 30,000, you could play it again, but this time you could see your opponent’s hand.

The Bamboo game was never available in English, but many of us played it nonetheless. The game has been converted to HTML5, but the objective was changed to only getting 20,000.

Mahjong Time

Though not the best mahjong platform, Mahjong Time did have an impact in the online mahjong world. For a long time, it was the only platform to provide mahjong in English. It was the first place where I played any kind of mahjong with other players online and was the platform that I played HKOS when I was in a rut.

Though the browser version will soon be gone, they have a downloadable client

I think that Flash has had a great effect on me and the mahjong community. With Mahjong Time, it gave me the confidence to play with others online. With “that flash game”, I slowly but surely learned the yaku. With the Tenhou Flash client, I practiced my skills. With Bamboo, I learned complex waits and sped up my game. Without these games, I would have gotten as deeply into riichi as I have. With that, I thank Flash for its service and I bid you farewell.


Published by


Riichi Mahjong Player, Creator of Jellicode's Jansou and M-League Watch, Maintainer of the World Riichi Map

2 thoughts on “Gone in a Flash: Saying Goodbye to Our Favourite Mahjong Flash Games”

    1. So I got a recommendation from a friend and they recommended that I should install the official stand-alone Flash Projector: https://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/debug_downloads.html
      According to them, as long as the files that you give it are safe, then there shouldn’t be any security risk. I’ve updated the article to mention it.

      Alternatively, you can try Blue Maxima’s Flashpoint (though I personally haven’t tried it yet): https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/downloads/

      On another note, the gamedesign.jp Twitter account (an account that has been inactive since 2012) has recently tweeted that the “HTML5 version of mahjong_e.html is not complete yet”:

      So there is hope that an HTML5 version is in the works


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s