Athena Co., Ltd is a recently defunct Japanese development and publishing studio that was established in July 1982 in the Shinjuku-ku district of Tokyo, Japan. Although they were primarily focused on consumer software development they were also involved in facilities management and operated a number of amusement centres in Japan called Game Spot Athena.
In 2004 Athena diversified their business model and began development for mobile platforms rather than the traditional home console market. By 2010 the income from their various business interests was around 200 million yen and in September of 2010 they had ceased all game software development. On the 11th of December 2013 they sadly filed for bankruptcy at the Tokyo district court. Below is an online news report from fukeiki.com about Athena’s bankruptcy proceedings. Copyright © 2008-2017 不景気.com. All Rights Reserved.
Athena developed some very popular long running game series the two best known would probably be the デザエモン or Dezaemon series which was a popular shmup construction kit that had entries on the Nintendo Famicon, Super Famicon, Sony Playstation & Sega Saturn through to a 3D version of the software for the Nintendo 64 and finally the last iteration of the software a much simpler to use version called Dezaemon Kids! for the Sony Playstation.
The other franchise that was arguably even more popular was the プロ麻雀極 or Pro Mahjong Pole titles which Athena was renowned for. This was another successful series that had multiple entries on the Super Famicom, Nintendo Gameboy & Sony Playstation 2 systems as well as instalments on the Nintendo 64, Windows & the Sony Playstation and more importantly for readers of this site the Sega Dreamcast.
The Dreamcast version of the Pro Mahjong Kiwame series was the only title that Athena published on the system.プロ麻雀 極D or Pro Mahjong Kiwame D was released on the 30th of March 2000 and it retailed for ¥4,800. Below is the official Sega archive sites entry for Pro Mahjong Kiwame D.© SEGA
The Dreamcast’s version of Pro Mahjong Kiwame D was first announced at the Tokyo Game Show fall ’99’ where it was showcased at Athena’s booth at the time both it’s price and release date were both yet to be determined.
Information relating to Pro Mahjong Kiwame D is actually quite sparse certainly for an entry in such a well regarded franchise such as the Pro Mahjong Kiwame series of games. Luckily the archive Athena site is still navigable and the companies official Pro Mahjong Kiwame D website is still accessible. I’ve linked to it below so you see some of the various features the game has to offer. (c) Athena 2000
Unfortunately, i’ve not played Pro Mahjong Kiwame D for more than the first ten minutes due to the fact in not that familiar with the rules of Mahjong which renders it pointless to try to play at least till i’m competent at the basics of Mahjong. The only Mahjong experience i’ve had was trying a game of Solitaire Mahjong which i’d definitely class myself as a novice. The game does seem to feature a wide set of different rules for customising your games of Mahjong but these are far outside my level of expertise.
Pro Mahjong Kiwame D seems to cater for the more advanced Mahjong players rather than novices. Its audio-visual presentation is very serious in nature which i assume tournament Mahjong players would appreciate.
I’ll speculate that given Athena’s expertise in creating Mahjong software that if you’re looking for a more challenging game of Mahjong for the Dreamcast Pro Mahjong Kiwame D probably would be a good choice.
T-16801M Pro Mahjong Kiwame D
SAMPLE T-16801M Pro Mahjong Kiwame D
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
I’m not aware of any individual 非売品 disc for Pro Mahjong Kiwame D. To be honest i don’t think i’ve seen any disc based media for the game. As usual i’ll need to confirm with the Dreamcast Magazine demo discs to confirm if they have any content relating to Pro Mahjong Kiwame D
Unfortunately I’ve never encountered anything else relating to Pro Mahjong Kiwame D. I was hoping it’ll be quite easy to find a guidebook as some of the series do have one published for their respective games but apparently not for Pro Mahjong Kiwame D.
Thank you for taking the time to read this entry on Athena and Pro Mahjong Kiwame D as always if you can contribute any information that i’ve might of missed please contact me through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector