Shanghai (GB)

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Shanghai - GB - USA.jpg
Platform: Game Boy
Year: 1989
Developer: HAL Laboratory
For other games in the series, see Shanghai.

Shanghai was originally a computer game by Activision created by Brodie Lockard. It was ported to a plethora of home computers and consoles. The Game Boy version was developed and published by HAL Laboratory.

The game uses a Chinese set of Mahjong tiles and are arranged in a pile. The goal is to clear all the tiles off the board by pairing identical tiles with each other. However, this can only be done if a tile is free and not completely surrounded by other tiles horizontally.

The Game Boy version is quite limited; the whole set of tiles can't fit entirely on the screen, so the screen scrolls when you move the cursor until you have enough of the board cleared to fit on one screen. Also, the colors aren't present on the Game Boy's monochrome screen, making it a little more difficult to play. The good thing is that there are a few different in-game tunes to choose from, as well as fluid controls to make the game tolerable.

Critics said that while the Game Boy version wasn't necessarily horrible, they mostly recommended other alternatives like console versions, or handheld versions which use color.


Shanghai - GB - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Shanghai - GB - Gameplay.png

Playing the game.

Shanghai - GB - Song Credits.png

Selecting a song in the Japanese version.

Shanghai - GB - Ending 1.png


Shanghai - GB - Ending 2.png


Shanghai - GB - Ending 3.png



Shanghai has a pretty small soundtrack, only six songs. This is understandable, seeing that the game was released in Japan around the same time the Game Boy itself was released. However, the game has three selectable in-game tunes that one can listen to at any time during their game. This is especially helpful if you've heard a particular song and want to hear something different. The music is a mix of traditional Asian music and rock. It's also unique that one of the in-game songs is in the 5/8 time signature (quite possibly the first song on the Game Boy to do so). The game's soundtrack was written by Hideki Kanazashi and Hiroaki Suga, the two main sound designers at HAL Laboratory at the time.

The song titles are taken from the page (see below). However, the Japanese version of the game gives the in-game tunes (tracks 3~5) actual titles at the song select screen, whereas the North American version just calls them BGM.

Like HAL's NES games, it is likely Hideki composed all the music while Hiroaki did sound effects and programming, but this should be verified.


# Title Composer Length Listen Download
01 Title Hideki Kanazashi, Hiroaki Suga 1:08
02 Miyako Hideki Kanazashi, Hiroaki Suga 1:28
03 Tabi Hideki Kanazashi, Hiroaki Suga 1:25
04 Yama Hideki Kanazashi, Hiroaki Suga 1:13
05 Ending Hideki Kanazashi, Hiroaki Suga 0:49
06 Staff Roll Hideki Kanazashi, Hiroaki Suga 0:40



There are two different ways of accessing the credits, the first of which being more obscure; When you beat a stage, you get the same ending screen but with a different ending message in kanji. The order goes 天晴 (Admirable), 名人 (Master), 幸運 (Fortune), and 健康 (Health). After beating a stage the fifth time, you will get the message 達人 (Expert) for the next five rounds, so it was thought by many this was the true ending to the game. However, it you beat the stage once more, you are rewarded with the final ending message 感謝 (Gratitude). After this, you can press a button to show the game's credits. Note that the kanji remains in the US version and is not translated.

Alternatively, if you don't want to go through all that, there is a secret password screen that can be accessed by holding Select and Start on the title screen. Entering STF as a password will show the same credits.


  Japan.svg   Japan
Shanghai - GB - Japan.jpg
Title: 上海 (Shanghai)
Platform: Game Boy
Released: 1989-07-28
Publisher: Activision Japan
  USA.svg   USA
Shanghai - GB - USA.jpg
Title: Shanghai
Platform: Game Boy
Released: 1990-06-??
Publisher: HAL America Inc.