Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Rules are pretty simple: Each row and column should be painted so their length, color and sequence corresponds to the clues, and there is at least one empty square between adjacent same-color blocks. It is allowed to have no empty square between adjacent different-color blocks.
How to play
Select the color you wish to use and click the desired square in the grid. First mouse click fills a square, second mouse click displays a dot to indicate the square is blank and third click brings the square back to its original state. Multiple squares may be filled or blanked by dragging the mouse.
Play Color Pic-a-Pix Light Vol 1
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
It seems most of us are not very interested with PC-like action games on our mobile phones. Yet, quite many of us love the idea of using them for casual games. According to a recent report by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services, consumers perceive mobile phones as casual gaming devices with puzzle and card games at the top of the list. Amazingly, less than 10 percent of on-the-go Internet gamers say they are interested with core or console-centric games for their mobile phone but 55 percent of them "want to play puzzle and card games on mobile phones". Following are 6 prominent mobile game destinations found on the web.
Gameloft is an international publisher and developer of video games for mobile phones established in 1999. The company owns and operates titles such as Block Breaker Deluxe, Asphalt: Urban GT and New York Nights and creates games for mobile handsets equipped with Java, Brew or Symbian technology. Gameloft means business. Their partnership agreements include brands such as Ubisoft Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Animations SKG, 20th Century Fox, Viacom, Sony Pictures, Touchtone Television, Warner Bros., and more.
Glu is a global publisher of mobile games founded in 2001 and based in San Mateo, California. Game portfolio includes original titles Super K.O. Boxing!, Stranded and Brain Genius and titles based on major brands from partners including Atari, Hasbro, Warner Bros., Microsoft, SEGA, Sony and more.
Sendmemobile is a leading provider of direct to consumer mobile entertainment and wireless content. The site offers the broadest selection of mobile subscription services currently available online in the US. Content includes interactive mobile trivia, ringtones and wallpaper, mobile sweepstakes.
With GameJump all games are free. You never get charged a dime as everything is paid for by advertisements shown before and after the games. There is no sign up for a subscription or a token system or a premium SMS service. GameJump also have no phone company relationships, so they don't get any money from them either.
PeerBox Mobile is a classic web2.0 venture, integrating social networking, user generated content and file sharing, only they do it for your mobile phone. People with PeerBox can watch and share videos and music files directly from their mobile phone. With user base in 178 countries, PeerBox is a mainstream social environment for mobile users.
Not exactly a mobile content portal but, same as peerbox, also an interesting destination for mobile gamers, playyoo is a growing mobile content community with a web2.0 approach. Here you can download and play but also create and share fun games for your mobile.
Enjoyed this post? Subscribe to my RSS or via email
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Looking for beyond-Sudoku experience? Nonogramm, the first German-speaking magazine dedicated to Picture Logic puzzles, was released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by Raetsel Agentur Schweiz on December 6, 2007. Nonogramm is the second magazine in Das Auge (The Eye) series targeted at puzzle fans looking for more-satisfying puzzles than Sudoku. The 36-page magazine contains 60 Pic-a-Pix, 5 Link-a-Pix and 4 Fill-a-Pix puzzles all sourced from Conceptis and is published every two months. Subscriptions to Nonogramm available at internationale-presse.com
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The idea to put the game on Facebook to broaden their reach was brought up - not a surprise - by one of their users. It was early June when the folks at Scrabulous.com wrote to Hasbro in an attempt to make sure there will be no copyright infringement issues if they do that. According to CNet Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, software developers and brothers in Calcutta, India, never heard back from the International toy giant. The Agarwallas released their Scrabulous on Facebook at the end of June targeting 2,600 users. Within weeks, the Scrabulous application had 20,000 users. Today, six months later, the Scrabulous counter says "480,273 daily active users, 23% of total".
A new version of the game was released by the Scrabulous brothers last weekend aiming to improve performance. Additional "coming soon" features include; Word Meanings (clicking to see the meaning of the last word); more language dictionaries; optional notes area below the board titled Scribble Pad; Improved Statistics and, of course, a touch of web 2.0 spirit in the form of Buddy Option, allowing adding opponents to buddy lists.
I have never been a huge fan of Scrabble and word puzzles. This story is more about Hasbro and large corporations in general than it's about Scrabulous and the Agarwallas. Some guys just never listen. And there will always be someone who does.
Scrabulous on FaceBook
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
People are not so much into playing real PC like games on their mobile phones but apparently they love the idea of using them for solving puzzles and playing other casual games. According to a new report by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services, consumers perceive mobile phones as casual gaming devices with puzzle and card games at the top of the list. Amazingly, less than 10 percent of on-the-go Internet gamers say they are interested with core or console-centric games for their mobile phone comparing to 55 percent who "want to play puzzle and card games on mobile phones"
Furthermore, Director of Broadband and Gaming at Parks Associates Yuanzhe Cai predicts this will be the trend in the near future as well as “New 3D and multiplayer mobile games look great in demos, but casual games are where the money is and will be for the next few years.”
Parks Associates: Mobile Phone Remains a Casual Gaming Platform
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
With tones of puzzle game references and a respected pool of logic puzzle oriented material this bloglike function-rich website is good not just in keeping a hand on the pulse of casual gaming industry as well as very few others do, but in smartly supporting their way up to the crowded green area of public attention. A brilliant "add this game to your website" feature allowing easy embedding action of every game reviewed on the site is just one - actually my favorite - example.
This morning I was informed by an avid Conceptis member about this kindly phrased reference to Conceptis on jayisgames' recent link dump post. Personally, I already knew there are very few websites out there doing both printable and online number and picture logic puzzles for free as we do them in conceptispuzzles.com but having this said by JohnB of jayisgames.com is a very nice achievement for anyone in the industry. Much obliged JohnB.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Seven years ago when I started collaborating with Dave Green and Conceptis, the company had just this one picture logic puzzle type they called Pic-a-Pix and it only came with black and white pictures. It was year 2000 but in the west no one had a clue what we were talking about when we showed him our samples. It was a long way from that point to nowadays when eleven puzzle families, dozens of variants and hundreds of different puzzle models are published in more than 30 countries across the world. This includes Japan, where Pic-a-Pix and other other picture logics as Link-a-Pix and Fill-a-Pix are published by G-Mode (Japan's leading mobile phone game provider).
As opposed to Japan, In the west picture logic puzzles are still a rare product when it comes to mobile but, along with Sudoku becoming the world's most popular puzzle, even this is starting to change and people become much more familiar with other language independent puzzle types. It seems that the way for the world to realize Sudoku is a very boring game comparing to some other logic puzzles is getting shorter every day. Take Hands-On Mobile, for example, a developer of connected games and applications that released a mobile game package earlier this week dedicated to what they refer to as "Japanese Puzzles".
Following-up on their claimed to be successful Sudoku Garden game from 2006, the new mobile puzzle package includes both Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles as well as some Paint-by-Number puzzles, also known as Pic-a-Pix, Nonograms, Griddlers and in this case referred to as "Tenpenki".
Hands-On Mobile's Japanese Puzzles seem to be a feature rich application and claimed to support:
- Multi-player puzzling of up to four players competing against each other wirelessly.
- Up to nine pencil marks
- Hint lookup
- Beginner tutorial mode
- Back statistics for skill improvement monitoring
- Save solution status and reload later
- Voyage mode allows players to take on all three games and unlock more content
- Access to additional content by downloading new puzzles every day and by competing for the fastest time against other puzzle fans from around the world.
According to Eric Hobson, President and General Manager EMEA, Hands-On Mobile “the puzzle sector is a vast market, and one where demand still exceeds supply.” I agree with that claim and, even though you might say Mr. Hobson and myself are in a way competitors in the market, I would like to wish him success with his new game. Picture logic puzzles as his Japanese Puzzles Tenpenki are on their way to consensus and mainstream entertainment and there will be enough business for everyone.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Shendoku is a "Sociable Sudoku" multi player game of "skills, bluffing and cunning". The concept for the game originated with an educational project researching the Chinese mathematician, astronomer and inventor Shen Kua and the play reminds the famous Battleships game. According to shendoku.com "the development team decided to put themselves in the shoes of Shen Kua, an avid game player, and try to extrapolate what he would make of SuDoku."
Shendoku (all right, SHENDOKU™...) is not just an online project but also consisting with some books, some in the production stage and with the first book: SHENDOKU™ (ISBN 978-1-84728-627-7), already available to order from bookshops or at Amazon. The folks from shendoku .com says more books will be made available first through the SHENDOKU™ shop which is not working for some reason at the moment.
Rorohiko (all right, Rorohiko™...) a company specializing in Adobe InDesign® tools are the developers behind the Shendoku™ single player game which apparently use InDesign generators and some "other programs". Oh yes, Shendoku is still a Beta game and thus only available for evaluation and feedback on the Rorohiko website. It is claimed to be offered soon on Gideon Grinspan's WebSudoku where you will also be able to purchase eBook games. so in the meantime you can download this free eBook with instructions and a free sample.
Official Shendoku blog at shendoku.blogspot.com
Monday, November 12, 2007
As I promised last Thursday in my article about Sharpbrains.com and braintraining getting a hotter trend in the west I would like to follow-up on what I said about how sometimes things just tend to "sort out on their own" and what this post from Sharpbrains was just perfect for me for, so her it is, just in case you are not a regular visitor to Conceptis Free Weekly Puzzles section or one of the company's publishers across the world:
The most dominant player in the international puzzle publishing market has announced a new line of logic puzzle families this Friday. Branded as "Kids Logic" the new set of intellectual activity games is designed to have positive impact on children's cognitive skills, logic deduction, concentration and eye-to-hand coordination. At this point Kids Logic puzzles are only available to Conceptis publishers. Yet, the official Kids Logic publisher section is open for visitors and offers this zip with a few free samples. Other than this we'll just have to wait for some publishers to get on with it and make some publications available.
Proper disclosure: this new product line was co-developed by my wife, Nitsan, and I have the pleasure and honor to be serving as Conceptis marketing officer. Thus, this post can hardly be taken as an objective journalism item :) This said, and as you may already know, I am a (new...) father myself and as such find the new line of children brain training products to be very exciting. I really just can't wait until Carmel can try them! So, even though I am far from being objective here, I do think that if you have any children you should check this out. Following is the official press release from Conceptis. Please feel free to leave your comments here if you have any.
Free samples zip here
With eleven Picture and Number logic puzzle families for teens and adults, Conceptis announced Kids Logic - a third line of puzzle families targeted at children ages 5 to 12. Conceptis’ Kids Logic consists of different fun to solve puzzles and activities which at the same time develop cognitive skills, logic deduction, concentration and eye-to-hand coordination.
Conceptis’ Kids Logic consists mostly of new puzzle inventions never seen before as well as some popular puzzle concepts improved by Conceptis. The first release includes five puzzle families: Paint-by-Blocks, Paint-by-Symmetry, Paint-by-Dots, and the kids versions of Maze-a-Pix and Dot-a-Pix. More Kids Logic families such as Paint-by-Arrows, Paint-by-Areas and Paint-by-Symbols will be released in 2008.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
It's not every day that leading logic puzzle supplier Conceptis announces a new brainbreaker on their portfolio. This happened just this Friday as the company announced Hashi, its eleventh family of language independent logic puzzles. Hashi is an innovative bridge-connecting number-logic puzzle also known as Hashiwokakero (橋をかけろ Hashi o kakero; English: "build bridges!") and Bridges, invented by Nikoli Puzzles in Japan around 1990.
Starting October 12, four new Hashi puzzles are available every week in Conceptis' Free Weekly Puzzles section. Additional free Hashi including high-res solutions as the above very hard 20x26 model, are available from the official company catalog. Here are short instructions how to solve Hashi, taken from the Conceptis site:
"Each circle represents an island and the number in each island tells how many bridges are connected to it. The object is to connect between islands according to the number of bridges so that there are no more than two bridges in the same direction and there is a continuous path connecting all islands together. Bridges can only be vertical or horizontal and are not allowed to cross islands or other bridges."
According to Wikipedia, Hashi puzzles appeared in The Times and have also been published in English under the name Bridges or Chopsticks. In France, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium Hashi puzzles are published under the name Ai-Ki-Ai. Hashi puzzles first appeared September 1990 in issue 31 of Puzzle Communication Nikoli in issue, although an earlier form of the puzzle appeared December 1989 in issue 28.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Japan's Yu Nakajima won the Rubik's Cube World Championships on Sunday in Budapest. According to AFP Nakajima averaged 12.46 seconds in arranging a six-sided classic 3x3 cube. The fastest single attempt was a cool 10.88 seconds, pretty close to the world record of 9.86 seconds. Hundreds of competitors from 32 countries took part in the three-day World Rubik's Cube Championship 2007 which took place in Budapest, Hungary on October 5-7, with prizes awarded in 17 categories.
If you happened to be in school during the eighties like I did you must remember the Rubik's Cube cult as a partially solved piece was pretty much in the hands of every boy and girl I knew. Today, with more than 300 million cubes sold overall and 12 million going on the shelves this year alone according to the World Championship organizers, it certainly look like this mechanical logic puzzle is experiencing a revival.
"You could see it spread around the world and it was great to watch. The fashion is back. There are young people who hadn't even been born then and are now discovering it for themselves." Gabor Koncz, director of the Hungarian Culture Foundation in Budapest told Bloomberg reporters last week just before the opening.
The Rubik's Cube was invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in 1977 and became a world success in the early eighties. According to Wikipedia, Rubik is known to be a "very introverted and hardly accessible person, almost impossible to contact or get for autographs" and "typically refuses to attend speedcubing events". Yet, regardless of this statement being correct or not, things went pretty well for Rubik nevertheless and his phenomenal invention has already been exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art and entered into the Oxford dictionary.
I wonder if this spectacular revival of a mechanical logic game has anything to do with Sudoku becoming the world's most popular puzzle? Could it be that more people getting closer to their logic sides? I wonder what Dave Green from Conceptis, and a few of my other friends who have been evangelizing intellectual entertainment and logic puzzles for years, would have to say about that.
Official Rubik's Cube website
Full coverage list
ABC 2007 Championship Photo album
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The History of mankind is full of references to our constant craving for painkillers but the history of pain research and modern pain treatment begins in the 1800s. it was only In the 1850's when Charles Gabriel Pravaz, a French surgeon, and Alexander Wood of Edinburgh independently invented the syringe that Injections of morphine were generally used for local pain. The first public demonstration of surgical anesthesia, shown in the above picture, took place in Boston on October 16, 1846.
According to Wikipedia a painkiller is any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain. Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems; they include paracetamol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as the salicylates, narcotic drugs as morphine, synthetic drugs with narcotic properties such as tramadol and more. There are some other classes of drugs, not normally considered as analgesics but still use to treat neuropathic pain syndromes but they are all drugs. It's got to be a drug.
Poppy: ancient pain relievers
Nevertheless, there are other forms of pain killers that do not fit to the above encyclopedic definition but still used by people as effective pain relievers. For example, have you ever considered puzzles and other casual games as pain relievers? A study conducted about a year ago shows many people do just that. The majority of casual games players, according to the study, are females typically playing the games as a form of stress relief while many of them add the games also provide good mental stimulation. Dr. Carl Arinoldo, a Stony Brook NY-based psychologist and expert on stress management who conducted the research, advocates them as a source of both stress relief and cognitive exercise:
“Casual word and puzzle computer games, such as ‘Bookworm’ and ‘Bejeweled’ can actually develop new cellular brain connections thereby helping to keep the healthy brain active and vital and by seriously attending to the word and puzzle games, people can control stress by cognitively ‘blocking out’ the negative stresses of the day and ultimately train themselves to do this more reflexively. Unlike traditional videogames that tend to over-stimulate while they engage our minds, casual games have a calming effect while still providing an acceptable level of distraction and entertainment.”
Among the findings of the survey were responses to questions regarding the location, duration and reasons for playing Survey findings included:
88% of players indicated they experienced stress relief from playing casual games and 74% cited mental exercise as a benefit; when asked to choose the most important reasons for playing, 41% picked “stress relief/relaxation,” more than twice the number (19%) who chose “entertainment”; 27% said the games provided distraction from chronic pain and/or fatigue, and fully 8% said they derived actual relief from chronic pain and/or fatigue.
The later is the most amazing figure of this research in my opinion. What could be better than reliving other people's pain? Casual computer games, defined for survey purposes as “puzzle, word, simple action/arcade and other family-friendly, non-violent games which can be played on computers and mobile devices.”
The above screenshot is a solution of a gigantic Pic-a-Pix puzzle, one of the most intriguing yet still unrevealed logic puzzles, made by Conceptis. If you ever tried solving one of those you know how much attention and distraction they are able to generate. The puzzle in the picture, as well as easier and smaller ones, can be downloaded or played online on Conceptis' website.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Brady's wooden jigsaw puzzle blog is a way for you to get a glimpse onto his "eccentric world of puzzle cutting". The above pictures - covers of old popular magazines - are offered by Brady as custom wooden jigsaw puzzles, cut from their high quality reproductions. With two optional sizes the puzzles are offered in 50 or 100 pieces configurations.
Aren't they cool? check out www.bradypuzzles.com or just order one here.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Totally free and ready to print and use The Kids' Travel Activity Book pdf is an exclusive giveaway jam-packed with fun word puzzles, logic games, brain benders, and more - the perfect distraction for your grade level 2-7 kids on car trip, plane trips or anytime. Due to the graphics and depending on your bandwidth download might take a little time.
Direct download file | read more | digg story
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Craig S. Kaplan is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Graphics Lab, The David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science,
I happen know at least two high-end software engineers fighting similar research area and aware of some of its complexities and difficulties. Yet, Professor Kaplan's Maze Design is certainly one of the most spectacular amazing presentations of discrete geometry and non-photorealistic rendering techniques I have ever seen.
Creating computer generated mazes using human designer input, Professor Kaplan and his PhD student, Jie Xu, were interested in two complementary questions with respect to maze design: Complexity and Aesthetics. According to Kaplan computer-based maze design requires a mix of techniques from discrete geometry and non-photorealistic rendering. Thus, the two questions of complexity and aesthetics in mazes both represent profound problems in computer graphics.
Kaplan and Jie Xu were trying to answer the following questions:
"What makes a maze difficult to solve? The more we consider this question, the more elusive it becomes. It's certainly possible to begin defining mathematical measures of a maze's complexity, but complexity must depend on aspects of human perception as well. For example, the eye can easily become lost in a set of parallel passages. Complexity also depends on how the maze is to be solved. Are you looking down on the maze, solving it by eye? With a pencil? What if you're walking around inside the maze? And of course, complexity isn't necessarily what we want to measure. Ultimately we'd like to generate compelling puzzles, which may or may not have a high degree of complexity."
"How do we construct attractive mazes, particularly mazes that resemble real-world scenes? Here, maze design interacts with problems in non-photorealistic rendering. There are many great projects for producing line drawings from images. Our goal is similar, except that our lines must also contrive to have the geometry of a maze. This additional constraint affects how we think about creating a line drawing in the first place."
Also according to their page, mazes can be used to represent images in two different ways with the most obvious using non-photorealistic line art as in the fantastic examples by Christopher Berg and the less obvious as in the "great new Maze-a-pix puzzles being produced by Conceptis Puzzles".
Following are a few of those creations linked to their corresponding HUGE originals. Click on any of them to download a PDF or PNG of the maze from their website for solving on paper. If you are REALLY interested with the subject you can also download the full Vortex Maze Construction paper by Jie Xu and Craig S. Kaplan (be patient. it's a big one and might take time to download).
Note: All images are courtesy of and copyrighted (2005) by Jie Xu and Craig S. Kaplan. you are free to use any of the images for personal and non-commercial purposes but please check with the owners about any other uses.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Take a good look at our daughter as she plays with Altman and Zemah during our visit at the farm yesterday for the birthday party of Oz. It's night. We had a good dinner, lots of Sangría and the party is almost over but someone just didn't have enough fun. Timestamp says its 21:12-22:43. The girl had her 2nd birthday just two weeks ago. Have I already mentioned Carmel is a human nuclear power plant?
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Why do people play games online? Staffan Schröder started this interesting thread on ixda.org* looking for any research in the field of why people play games or gamble online welcoming any pointers in the right direction.
A visitor named Dan Brown suggested that being the Casual Gaming a growing area of gaming involving puzzles, logic games, word games and so on, looking at this community might be a good idea. Brown's comment included the following references, both of which i never knew before: The Casual Games Association, connecting and educating the casual games industry with conferences, mingles, matchmaking, industry research and a magazine; and the Casual Games SIG (in the above screenshot) a dedicated Wiki serving game developers worldwide who are interested in this accelerating marketplace.
*The IxDA is a member-supported organization committed to serving the needs of the international interaction design community. With the help of over 300 members, IxDA provide a forum for the discussion of interaction design issues.
Thanks go to both Steffan and Dan!
Today I discovered my article The history of Sudoku, written and published mid August 2005, is honored as the fifth on Wikipedia's Sudoku article reference list ('Galanti, Gil. The History of Sudoku. Retrieved on 2006-10-06'). It means I'll have to put some more work into it keeping it updated, but at the same time I should say this is an online form of poetic justice!
Being totally fascinated by the emerging of Wikipedia in those days, and having done a comprehensive research about the subject, I was trying to contribute some of my findings to this article. Yet, I quickly found out that Sudoku has already became "too popular" and the people editing this article had to cope with millions of "contributions" by commercially interested elements. Thus, everything I posted there, no matter how short, interesting or new, was simply gone with the wind after less than 24 hours. I guess thats one of the bummer parts of being a famous puzzle :)
I took the opportunity and got myself updated with some new stuff published in the Wikipedia article. For example, I think Howard Garns - now claimed to be the person who actually made the first Sudokus in 1979 (published by Dell Magazines under the name "Number Place") is new. I need to update my article.
The official Wikipedia Sudoku blurb is now:
Sudoku (数独, sūdoku) is a logic-based number placement puzzle. The objective is to fill a 9x9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3x3 boxes (also called blocks or regions) contains the digits from 1 to 9. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid.
Completed Sudoku puzzles are a type of Latin square, with an additional constraint on the contents of individual regions. Leonhard Euler is sometimes incorrectly cited as the source of the puzzle, based on his work with Latin squares.
The modern puzzle was invented by an American, Howard Garns, in 1979 and published by Dell Magazines under the name "Number Place".It became popular in Japan in 1986, after it was published by Nikoli and given the name Sudoku, meaning single number.  It became an international hit in 2005.