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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Beating Vegas at Roulette

http://nautil.us/issue/50/emergence/claude-shannon-the-las-vegas-cheat

I first heard this story about 10 years ago on tv. All of the participants were interviewed and it was great fun!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

14 Puzzle Boxes

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ubumcwaLEnQ Mobile device link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&amp=&v=ubumcwaLEnQ&app=desktop Laptop link

I know 11 of the 14 puzzle box designers.  All great guys.

I got to play/solve one of them at the IPP. Another stumped me.

Here's the deal: the whole set will be auctioned off 3 times, not on eBay, but on a private site that only puzzlers get to see.  A similar auction occurred for the Apothecary Box Puzzle. I believe 2 sets were auctioned off for about $10,000 each.

Yes it's pricey, but it's more substantial than bitcoin, etherium or the hundreds of other forms of artificial money. It's a good investment. Seriously.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Count 60 - A 60 Seconds Game by Nexogen Private Limited Free

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Count 60 - A 60 Seconds Game is a puzzle app game to test your reflexes. You are given 60 seconds to tap the numbers in order.  There is no time to study/memorize anything. This is hard!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/count-60-a-60-seconds-game/id1208023725?mt=8

Similar Games
One, Two Three 
1 to 25 Number Challenge

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dyson Telescope Game by Dyson Inc. Free

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Recently I reviewed a game called Pushing Machine. It's a game that utilizes telescopes to push boxes onto their spots, in a Sokoban way.
iPhone Screenshot 3
Dyson Telescope Game seems to be the first puzzle app game to incorporate telescopes.  In this game, telescopes can push and pull balls and purple blocks.

There are 48 levels and they get tricky. I solved them all in about 2.5 hours.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dyson-telescope-game/id419584432?mt=8

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

International Puzzle Party 2017

http://www.johnrausch.com/DesignCompetition/2017/

One of the best parts of attending the IPP is getting the chance to play/solve with the 60 + puzzles that are new and often one-of-a-kind.  At the awards dinner, I was thrilled to discover that one of my favorites this year was designed by a good friend.

If you are interested in attending an IPP, getting an invitation is not so easy. The founders of IPP want  to be very careful about who gets in.  They don't want too many people. This year about 250 puzzlers from 35 countries were in attendance.

However, the smaller puzzle parties in Europe and the US are pretty much open to everybody.  You will meet great people and see puzzles that are absolutely not available in any store.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Pilgrim in the Micro-World by David Sudnow 1983


Recently I reviewed a game called Ballz which is a game very similar to the old game Breakout.  I went to Wikipedia to try to find out what year it came out and saw that David Sudnow wrote a book about his obsession with Breakout. I decided to order it from Abebooks.com. It cost about $4.

In the past 6 or 7 years, I've become obsessed with certain games. Tripevo was my first puzzle app obsession.  I've had to delete games in order to cure my obsession.

David Sudnow was in a league off his own. Pilgrim in the Micro-World is David's memoir of his insane relationship with Breakout.

It all stems from the fact that David could not win. He studied the game in the most minute detail and chronicled his progress in a very technical way. Unknowingly, he also reveals some of his psychological doings.

David is a very good writer. At times I thoroughly enjoyed Pilgrim. In the middle, reading it became a chore. Toward the end, I was wishing that he'd simply get a baseball bat and smash the console out of his life.

I've chosen 2 passages (at random!) to quote.

Where can I put my eyes? How can I organize a way of moving that will pin down these five shots?  The moods that arise in the course of this frustrating struggle produce all sorts of minute hesitations, flutterings, and twitchings, and I can't hold the movements under control by tightening up the time, can't link each shot to the next by translating some effective emotional stance into a way of consistently pacing my play.  Somehow the eyes and hands must be freed to participate in a secret alignment I disturb whenever I try to intervene.

I'll visually improvise through the game like I did before I got the lowdown, only now I'm a bit wise to these layouts, and as the ball moves along it appears I'm glimpsing a trackedness to things, seeing a linearity to the paths along which it travels.

The best part of the book is when David visits the Atari programmers. They've already moved on to other games and have forgotten some of the details in the program of Breakout. Except for that chapter, which was fun, the book's 227 pages is more or less like the two passages above.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Jerry Slocum article

Jerry Slocum is among the very top scholars of puzzles in the world. He's written countless books. His mammoth collection was transferred to the Lily Library at Indiana University. Did I mention that Jerry founded the International Puzzle Party? I'm attending the annual convention right now.

I don't know when Jerry wrote this article.  It's about  very old Japanese puzzles.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Splashy Dots by Crimson Pine Games FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 4
Splashy Dots looks like an abstract art game. In essence: it's a maze game.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 2
The object is to start at the black dot and move horizontally and vertically and get to the black ring. Along the way, every other circle must be visited once and only once.

There have been other games similar to this one. However, Splashy Dots does not allow jumping over dots.

There are thousands of levels.  I've done about 10.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/splashy-dots/id1230045214?mt=8

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mezzo Puzzle by burak ozcan FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 3
Mezzo Puzzle comes from Burak Ozcan.  His description: So close, yet so far! Designed by a master puzzle maker, Mezzo is a minimalistic puzzle that amuses the eyes and provokes the minds. Move all the pieces on revolving rails to the boxes with the same color. Stuck? Use hints. Come on, how hard can it be? 

With levels handcrafted by a master puzzle maker, Mezzo starts as a brain teaser then becomes an addictive time killer evolves into a challenging hair puller and finally brings you to an oddly satisfying state of victory over the course of 100 levels! (Only if you can complete them; obviously.)

There are moving pieces and stationary boxes on endlessly revolving rails. Swipe left and right to move rails on the horizontally, and up and down to… well you guessed right, move vertically. Pieces can move between vertical and horizontal rails if they are at an intersection. That’s it. 
Your purpose is to move all the pieces to the boxes with same colors. Watch out because moving one piece in one direction moves all pieces in the same direction unless they are on a different axis. 

iPhone Screenshot 4  iPhone Screenshot 5
My Thoughts:
1. The first 35 levels are easy and go fast.
2.  Things get tricky at level 36 with a split rope.  37 tied me up in a different way.  Some of the puzzles have a 'solve blue and green will solve itself'  symmetry. Not so with 44.
3. At the moment I'm somewhere on level 70. Many levels go pretty fast. Others have kept me wandering around and around.
4. I like that my moves are not counted and I am not awarded any stars.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mezzo-puzzle/id1234165524?mt=8

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dots Pairs by Miguel Garulo FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Dots Pairs comes from Miguel Garulo. It's very similar to Oggoelement (see link below).  The object is to get matching colored balls to crash into each other and go poof.
iPhone Screenshot 3
The puzzle has that Lunar Lockout feel: objects will travel until they hit another object and objects cannot drift off into space.

There are 50 levels and I've solved them all. Which means they might be a bit too easy.

According to the Leaderboard, there are only 9 people playing Dots Pairs. Do Miguel a favor and download it, because it's free. He's probably spent a lot of time making the levels, the graphics etc. So many puzzle app developers experience this same thing: apathy.  It's a good game.

Miguel: if you're reading this - get rid of the ads that pop up in the middle of the game.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dots-pairs/id1138916899?mt=8
https://www.facebook.com/miguelgarulo

Similar Games

Slidercrash
Buffalooh
Even Up
Line's Life
Moskeez
Fuzzy Logic
Bumpling
Fling!
Oggoelement

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dotless by Dingyue Ban FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Dotless comes from Dingyue Ban. The object is to capture all the yellow dots within the allowed number of moves.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
The images describe the movements. However:
1. Blue can move only 1 square at a time.
2. Yellow moves like a rook until it hits a wall or goes off the board.
3. Red cannot move, but acts as a block. Tapping on it removes it.
4. The Blue/Yellow square reverses all the colors.

There are 45 levels.  I'd like to see a 'Level Builder' where users can make their own levels for others to solve.

Dotless is very very good. It's free and fun and challenging. It's a little gem.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dotless/id1254967434?mt=8

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Flat Cubic by Sergey Shulga FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Sergey Shulga's Flat Cubic is solving Rubik's Cube, by seeing all 6 faces at the same time.
iPhone Screenshot 5  iPhone Screenshot 4
I have not seriously played this app. But it's definitely interesting and extremely disorienting, and I've been solving Rubik's Cubes since 1981.


https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flat-cubik/id1236549301?mt=8

Friday, July 21, 2017

Snaky Snake by Nicolas Pierre-Loti-Viaud FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Nicolas Pierre-Loti-Viaud recently contacted me about his new puzzle Snaky Snake.  Nicolas made Cubot 2 years ago.  That's a great puzzle with exceptional graphics.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
Snaky Snake is more of a dexterity game. Still, quick strategic thinking is essential.

The object is to rotate the globe so that your snake will gobble up its food and then grow.  The game ends when your snake crashes into something or itself!

There are 10 different worlds at the moment. A new one will be added every week.

I've played through 5 levels.  My highest score so far is 41 in Shark World. Funny: the shark eats rubber ducks.

The unicorn world: follow the seams of a baseball.

The Panda world is the hardest so far. Crossing the bridges over the river is difficult. The world spins a bit too much.

I must confess, the sharp rotations to avoid obstacles can sometimes make me seasick.

I definitely want to explore the other 5 worlds though.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snaky-snake-the-spherical-snake/id1255560499?mt=8

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Make Square by Claudio Sassaki FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Make Square from Claudio Sassaki is a point scoring puzzle app game. The object is to place the pieces, 3 at a time, onto the grid to make squares.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 5
At first, it seemed that this game would take forever to play. But as more colors get added, things get crowded.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/make-square/id1247689529?mt=8

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Make Me Yellow by Peng Wan FREE

iPhone Screenshot 2  iPhone Screenshot 5

In May of this year Bart Bonte published Yellow (Game). Great little game.

I'm not sure if Peng Wan's Make Me Yellow is a clone. The concept is the same, but the levels appear be different.  I did the first 6 levels of Peng's game (stuck on 6) and then redid the first 20 levels of Bart's game. I saw no identical puzzles. But of course, there could be.

I emailed Peng to ask him about this. No response. I also emailed Bart, who said thanks for the alert.

At the VERY LEAST, Peng: you should acknowledge that you were inspired by Bart.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/make-me-yellow/id1208915737?mt=8

Monday, July 17, 2017

Zame by Squadventure FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Zame is a reflex testing puzzle app game. The object is to quickly tap the mirror image of the shaded figures.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
What's interesting about this game: the hexagonal layout. I think that's why I can't just keep going.  Also, the mirror line alternates between horizontal and vertical. My high score, at the moment, is 19.
I emailed George Faraj, who made Zame, and his high score is 25.

Good game, good fun. Hey, maybe playing these types of games will help ward off Alzheimer's.

FREE.

http://www.squadventure.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zame/id1237871082?mt=8
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.squadventure.ProjectMirror&referrer=utm_source%3Dsqweb

Friday, July 14, 2017

Pushing Machine (Original) by Rafal Roszak FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  
Back in December 2016 Ruslan Goncharenko came out with Push It. Sokoban Edition. I played it, but did not review it. I should probably go back and play it some more.

Rafal Roszak has created another version of this with 12 ranks of difficulty ranging from Practice to Impossible. Altogether there are 10,125 levels.

The object is to push the boxes onto the targets. The machines can push 1 box, or it can push another machine. Very similar to sokoban.

These puzzles are absolutely fantastic.  At the moment, I solved just 2 of the 675 Impossible levels. Each took me about 15 minutes. I've also solved a bunch of levels in the other categories.

Improvements
1. There should only be 200 levels grouped into 4 categories.
2. There should be a Leaderboard feature to motivate people to keep playing the game, for bragging rights.
3. There needs to be a better Undo button.
4. There should be a video tutorial that shows how to solve a few easy levels and 1 Impossible level.

This is a great game and great concept. But it's unlikely that I, or anyone, will solve all 10,125 levels.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pushing-machine-original/id1252393538?mt=8
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.reactor.pushingmachine

Push It, Puzzle Edition same mechanism, different objective, also from Ruslan Goncharenko

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Video from Japan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07gHAmW91Cc

I'm not sure if I posted this already.  I saw this about 3 months ago.  Don't skip forward.  The magician steals the show.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bubble Unblock by Mikolaj Gucki FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Bubble Unblock comes from Mikolaj Gucki.  The object is to slide the bubbles to their correct targets. It's a sliding tile/shunting puzzle app game.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
The graphics are excellent.  The bubble creatures make eye contact with each other.

The puzzles are just too easy.  The first 25 levels - no ads.  After that, every level is followed by an ad.

These puzzles could potentially get very difficult, but so far, after solving about 65 levels, they're still too easy.

Bubble Unblock is really a good game for kids.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bubble-unblock/id1123793631?mt=8

Monday, July 10, 2017

Triangle Flip by Code Handwerker GmbH FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Triangle Flip is a unique interesting puzzle app game.  The objective is to get all the triangles to be the same color.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
Swipe over entire rows to change all the colors.  That's the only mechanism. Pretty simple, but things get tough.

According to the Leaderboard, there are about 300 people playing this. I've solved about 100 levels. HRubasch  is #1 with 560 levels solved.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/triangle-flip/id1250921695?mt=8

Friday, July 7, 2017

SuprinO by Denis Volchenko FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
The objective in SuprinO from Denis Volchenko is "Adventure a little ball called SuprinO, that has an abillity to fly. Help him find his big Father ball. That's it."
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 5
Tap on the screen to make the ball expand and rise. Untap to make it shrink and fall.  Quite simple.

But the graphics are terrific.  The walls, ceilings and floors have critical angles and indentations that provide the dexterity puzzle element. There is no tilting the device.

There are only 27 levels with more 'coming soon'. I've solved them all.  SuprinO definitely falls into the Weird and Wonderful category.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/suprino/id1247442966?mt=8
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.MandelArtPlains.Suprino&hl=ru