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First released in 1986 as a PC game, Shanghai has quietly grown into a franchise rivaling other prolific series like Tetris. In it, players must match pairs from a set of tiles laid out in certain arrangements. With two Lynx units linked together, players can choose to play either alternating or simultaneous competitive modes, or a cooperative mode.
Shanghai's tile set, borrowed from the ancient Chinese game of Mahjongg, consists of 144 tiles. There are three general groups of tiles, corresponding to suits in western playing cards. Each suit has tiles numbered from one to nine, with four of each number for a total of 36 tiles in one suit. There are also other tiles with flowers, a red Chinese character for center, and Chinese characters representing the four cardinal directions. In traditional Mahjongg there is also a set of blank tiles; in this game the blank tiles have one large rectangle with a series of smaller, interlocked rectangles inside.
Players must match these tiles together to eliminate them from the board one pair at a time. Tiles that can be freed from the design by either moving left or right can be matched. The object of the game is to clear the design of all tiles in the shortest amount of time. Seven different designs are available to players, including the classic dragon design. Other layouts include a hawk, cat, and turtle, with the actual layout resembling the animal in question. During the game, players can ask for a hint or restart the same tile layout over. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide