Friday, April 8, 2011

Clueless Gaijin Gaming: Sexy Idol Mahjong Fashion Story

Time to dive into yet another of the dozens of mahjong titles released for the Japanese PC Engine -- this week, we'll take a quick look at Sexy Idol Mahjong Fashion Story, a 1994 entry in Nihon Bussan/Nichibutsu's long-running series.  It came out in 1994 for the PC Engine's Super CD-ROM format, and also makes use of the Arcade system upgrade card's additional memory on systems so equipped.  It's entirely in Japanese, though the gameplay is manageable without speaking the language as long as one is willing to gain a passing familiarity with the game of mahjong.

From a retro-gaming perspective, the most entertaining part of the game is this boot-up screen, wherein a cute mahjong hostess flirts with the Nichibutsu owl:

The following title screen is pretty standard stuff for these games, with a long, slow pan up a pretty girl's shapely body, accompanied by cheesy "sexy" music, although the English SEXY IDOL titling from the packaging is nowhere to be seen here:

The game itself is a little bit different from the norm; the developer invested some effort in a novel Story mode, so while we don't really get to see much in the way of fashion, the title is somewhat justified.  Our smarmy male hero rolls the die and, wearing what sounds like the world's squeakiest pair of shoes, makes his way across a boardgame landscape populated by bunny girls, geisha and at least one dominatrix:

Eventually the player lands on a square where he can enter a mahjong parlor, buy the available girl a drink and then challenge her to a game of mahjong.  The game features lots of digitized graphics and voice samples, but at the end of the day it's just more mahjong, with the only incentive being the potential for seeing one's opponent in a state of partial undress.

In my case, we instead fulfill the potential for being snarkily taunted by a victorious opponent:

There's also a 4-hand mode, where the player can select four hostesses and watch them yelp, shout and make faces at each other, while we assist one of them and the others play automatically.  Unfortunately the game in this mode always seems to end before anyone is forced to disrobe.

In a vain attempt to have some of the particular kind of fun promised by this title, I played around with the Magic Engine emulator's cheat system.  I was able to determine with some degree of confidence that our opponent's current point total is stored at hex location F82907, adjusted by a factor of 100; that is, an onscreen score of 27000 is actually stored in memory as the number 270.  But when I tried to use this hard-won information to force my opponent's score to 0, the display refreshed as expected, but the game just ended with a loss on my side after the current hand anyway.  So I was not able to cheat my way to a victorious egress, or Victoria's Secret for that matter.  But I had fun trying, even though my performance failed to impress:

And that's about all I can tell you about Sexy Idol Mahjong Fashion Story.  I still have more of these games to look at in future installments, for which I apologize in advance.  But I'll try to put the next one off for a while longer.

Does anyone actually collect these?  If you're in the market, this one may be available for purchase here or here:

Sexy Idol Mahjong Fashion Story PC-Engine SCD

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