Hi, I’m Joe Cassavaugh and I’ve been the lead designer on all three Mah Jong Quest games here at iWin. I thought I would spend my first blog explaining a little bit about Kwazi’s origins. Since Kwazi first showed up in Mah Jong Quest, people have asked “Is Kwazi a boy or a girl?” Although we finally answered that question in “Mah Jong Quest III – Balance of Life”, I think it’s a good time to tell everyone how Kwazi became intentionally ambiguous in that area in the first place.
I originally thought of the name “Kwazi” (rhyming with Bonsai) because my family nickname is “Kazz” and that quickly morphed into “Kwazi” and I always thought of “Kwazi” as a little boy. However, creation at iWin is very much a collaborative process and David Fox wrote the story outline with “Kwazi” as a little girl. I had never specified that “Kwazi” was a boy and I was surprised when I saw the “she” pronoun for the first time in regards to “Kwazi”. I think we even had art at that point and it was ambiguous enough that David and I decided there was no reason that “Kwazi” couldn’t remain undefined in that area. I was familiar with the “It’s Pat” sketches from SNL in the mid 90′s and I joked “Is it a He? or Is it a She?…It’s Kwazi!!!”
And that is how “Kwazi” (rhyming with Bonsai) got his/her pronunciation change into “Kwazi” (pronounced like the Quazi in Quazi Moto) (which also rhymes with he/she). And did you know that the three dragons are named Qua, Nit and Um? But that’s a story for another day.