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a game by Activision
Genre: Board Games
Platforms: Sega Master SystemSega Master System, Lynx, GameBoy
Editor Rating: 5.3/10, based on 5 reviews
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Shanghai Games

I reviewed this game for the Game Boy a few months ago, and I really liked that version. Well, my opinion of the Lynx version is no different. In fact, I think I like this version even more than the already excellent Game Boy version, primarily because it is much easier to see on the larger Lynx screen.

For those unfamiliar with Shanghai, it is a variation on the ancient Chinese game of mah-jongg. In the game you are confronted by a pattern of several levels of tiles. The object is to locate matching tiles (same type or "suit") on left and/or right borders of the levels. When two such tiles are matched up, they are removed. The ultimate goal is to remove all of the 144 tiles and thus "slay the dragon. " The Lynx version is quite similar to the one played on the Game Boy, but there are a few notable exceptions. First and foremost, the Lynx version "shades" the levels of tiles, so it's easier to tell what particular level tiles are on. In addition, because many of the tile symbols are somewhat similar, the Lynx provides a "zoom" view of whatever tile you are pointing at, so the actual pattern is very clear.

Control is also simplified. In the Game Boy version you had to press the "A" button to pick one tile, press it again to select another and press it a third time to remove both tiles. Playing on the Lynx, when you select the second tile, both are automatically removed from the board. The pointer "wraps around," making moving around the screen easier as well.

The Game Boy version of Shanghai had three different musical scores to choose from. The Lynx version has four and a no-music option (which the Game Boy sorely lacked), as well as numerous different designs for the tile patterns (dragon, spider, hawk, etc.). However, the Game Boy version is easier to play because it allows you to take back moves and get numerous hints. The Lynx version allows no backing up and only one hint for each turn.

The graphics in Shanghai are simple but effective. The tile pictures are pleasant, even if they are a bit on the simple side, and the title and end-game graphics are also well-done. The musical scores are excellent, as are the few sound effects. One noteworthy feature is the built-in help function, which explains how to play the game (look ma, no manual!).

That Shanghai can also be played by two players (via ComLynx) is also a welcome feature. Other options include competitive and cooperative modes, which results in taking a traditional "solitaire" game and making it "social." I can't stress hard enough how good a game this is. Sure, it lacks flashy graphics and action, but it's a good mental challenge that won over not just cynical old me, but just about everyone else I showed it to. Give it a look.

Gotta go! So many games, so little time!

Download Shanghai

Sega Master System

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

In this version of the ancient solitaire concentration game, you must match tiles of the same style. Remove all the tiles and you win. Tiles are arranged in the shape of dragons, bears, fish and other Chinese symbols. Challenge 7 different puzzles in this game of intricate moves and timeless strategies.

  • Manufacturer: Nintendo

The game that took over 2500 years to develop - and at least that long to master! A seemingly endless number of variations of the playing board, each with five increasingly difficult stages to unravel. Play the original version, using Mah Jongg tiles, or the updated version using the alphabet. We can teach you how to play the game, strategies, even how to read the Chinese characters - the only thing we can't teach you is how to quit!

A tremendously addicting game that challenges players to the ancient tile game Mah-Jong.

Shanghai, the ancient Chinese tile game, comes to the Game Boy courtesy of HAL America. Nearly 25,000 different puzzles await your concentration. The object is to remove all of the tiles, in identical pairs, until none remain. It may sound simple, but this classic form of solotaire concentration requires plenty of forethought and skill to master. A special American version is also included for those who can't distinguish the difference between Chinese characters.

People say:


Shanghai was almost a disaster, until the designers put in a letters and numbers mode that is infinitely more enjoyable (and a lot easier on the eyes). This is another, in what appears to be an upcoming trend, of GameBoy puzzlers, but it's a good mind-bender for those up to the challenge.


Some games are tough translations and this is one of them. The game is dry, slow, and not challenging. There's no excitement and nothing to keep you going after the first puzzle.


Shanghai is a good puzzle game for those who like brain teasers. If you are familiar with the home or computer versions then you know what you're up against. Extra settings and thousands of puzzles make this a very good version of Shanghai on the go!


GameBoy Shanghai is a pretty good version of the oriental solotaire game, but I have a real problem with the size of the tiles. They're almost impossible to distinguish unless you play in the number/letter mode (a good addition to the program). In the end, however, all this is is another puzzler.

Snapshots and Media

Atari Lynx Screenshots

Sega Master System Screenshots

GameBoy Screenshots

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