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Playing the Game: Sudoku

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Author: Tom Takihi

Modern Sudoku was anonymously revived by a retired Hong Kong Judge Wayne Gould, as a logical game disguised as a numbers game. Most people do look at it as a numbers game but if you would see the way the solutions are derived, logic would surely be the key. It has caught on like wildfire and transcends the boundaries of countries with challenging puzzles in every form and style. Sudoku is not restricted to numbers for one can use colors or objects to represent the grid contents that work on the same basic principle without need of modification of the basic rules.

It is unique among the games currently published in either print or on the internet in the sense that it is different and unusual from other usually boring puzzles that we are attracted to when we are waiting in queue or waiting for our number to be called to be served. Most puzzles found in newspapers are simply word games in disguise that have lost appeal with most readers. Sudoku on the other hand needs not translation from language to language and can be understood by people from all ages. It is a rage in Japan, and is fast getting the attention of Americans and Europeans as the puzzle of choice for the present times to come.

Some people have been so challenged by these puzzles that a new form of depression is evolving out of the problem solving process. "Compulsive Sudoku Syndrome", as the addiction is called is fast spreading and tickling the brain cells of most people who start out perplexed at the seeming simplicity but end up challenged so much that they cannot stop trying to solve a stubborn puzzle. This has been evident with some people who end up in a trance-like state wherein they are so captivated by the drive to solve a Sudoku puzzle. Others have claimed to have fallen into depression when they fail to solve a quite perplexing puzzle that eludes completion.

Popularity of the game has grown and grown to proportions that have had world contests like the one held in 2006 and again in 2007. Many variants of the game have also arisen as a result of its popularity that have the standard 3X3 grids expanded from 4X4 up to a claimed 100X100 sized grid. A 3D variant Roxdoku further challenged players that eventually led to a multiplayer game variant named Juxtapono. Many more variants have evolved from the basic forms that they are now commonplace in newsprint media and other publications that simply can't resist having them to give readers a breather from their regular articles. It's simplicity and the challenge created by these puzzles have offered relief from the already too common word puzzles such as cross words.

The basic games can usually be obtained as a small program from many sites on the internet that generate the uncompleted grids in any combinations that would be desired. Some forms have even revived interest in the hit Rubik's Cube game named Sudokube that has numbers on the cubes instead of the previously used colors. Whatever form and shape they may take, they still follow the basic rule that no number should occur more than once in the 3X3 grid. That may be the key to it's success, simplicity or rather the lack of it. The very simple rule if applied can become very complicated for the ones categorized as difficult.

About the author: Tom Takihi is the author of this page. If you want to know more about this type game, please try to visit this link

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