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Mahjong Chem goes international

Mahjong ChemA few years ago, the AT&T Foundation gave Stetson University’s Chemistry Department a grant to fund the development of a new online learning resource for introductory chemistry. One of the big successes of that project was the development of an online game called Mahjong Chem. And just last year, the Chemistry Department hosted its 3rd Annual Mahjong Chemistry Tournament.

“I don’t have any plans to make a version available for purchase,” said William “Tandy” Grubbs, professor and chair of the Chemistry Department. “One of the main reasons that the game has been such a big hit in the science education community is because it is free. My father was fond of reminding me ‘you get what you pay for.’ I finally proved him wrong.”

Since the release of the game in fall 2010, new developments of the game now include free app versions for the Android and Apple phones and tablets. However, the online computer version, according to Google Analytics, has been accessed by over 150,000 users from 178 different countries (including all states and territories of the United States) and is still being used worldwide.

Android app downloads total about 5,000 and Apple app downloads total to about 50,000. “The iPhone and iPad numbers are pretty impressive,” said Grubbs.

With a tremendous popularity of users, the idea of promoting Mahjong Chem internationally was long overdue. During the last six months, Grubbs worked with Luciano Violante, a chemistry major at Stetson, as well as a collaborator in Brazil, to create translated versions of the game. Languages include Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian.

by Kim Charles