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domingo, 12 de dezembro de 2010

Picross DS

Picross DS is on the list of recommended Nintendo DS games of many websites made by “people specialized in games”. Yes, yeah, ok, it is. But why? Why????? WHY??????? After many nights without sleep, only thinking about this mystery *cof*actually no*cof*, I decided to find the reason giving hours of my existence, very often ridiculous, to the solution of this mystery.

First I will talk about the story, from where this picross thimg came from. After that i will talk about the game itself and finally how picross works. You can read in the normal order or you can jump to the segment you want, making the reading order that you always dreamed of, ok?

Let’s start.

Seat down, 'cause here comes some story

This kind of puzzle was born in the mind of Non Ishida em 1987, but the creation is also credited to Tetsuya Nishio who had the same idea around the same time. Yeah, at that time when Internet was not alive this kind of phenomena was very common.

When first created these puzzles where called “Painting by numbers”, but them someone, just like you now, noticed this name was ridiculous and the name Picross was created as an abbreviation from PICture CROSSword.

In 1995 Nintendo got one of those magic licenses to launch this kind of puzzles to videogames exclusively (they still have this license). In the following years were released 2 games to Game Boy and 9 games to Super Nintendo (yes, all that). Of all these games only one left Japan, there is some videos of this game in YouTube, it was called Mario’s Picross. Yeah, Mario have being in some kind of games I would not believe if somebody told me.

Only years later Nintendo launched again titles with Picross puzzles. The first one is this to DS that I’m talking about in this post and another one that I will talk about in the future that’s called Picross 3D.

About the Japanese guys who created the game I tried to find out what they are doing in their lives now with a quick search, but since there is no wikipedia page for them I would say they are happy and making a lot of money with the rights of their invention, after all picross puzzles are no only in games, they are published in newspapers and magazines in countries like Germany, England, Netherlands, Italy and more.

No small talk, just tell me about the game

Being one of those great analysts of the game’s world, showing knowledge in a hope that it would be recognized and return in the form of money, I think that a good puzzle game offers a gradual challenge which succeeds in captures our attention without demanding hours of dedication.

You seat, you play, you understand fast, if you want to stop no problem and if you dedicate your time the game can evolve becoming more challenging to a point where that initial play that got your attention and made you feel so special for solving a puzzle in 10 seconds, become mega complex and make you cry like a little baby feeling like you are the most stupid person in the planet.

In a similar model games like Tetris achieved success and even the crosswords of your grandma. Picross DS also follows these ideas.

If you want a more casual puzzle game where you can solve a challenge in 10 seconds, the game has that, there is even a mode called “Daily Picross” that is very much like that. However, if you want something deeper, the game has puzzles that could take you something like one hour to solve.

After all, how does this game works?

I will give a very simple explanation because the best way to understand the game or how it can be fun is just play it. In fact, if you are really going to try, don’t get mad with the tutorials, they explain useful things.

Like the original title could say the idea is to paint with numbers. There is a grid with blank squares that should be painted following what the numbers in the borders define. Giving you a very simple example, look at the image bellow. We have a line with 6 blank squares and on the side the numbers 1 and 3. This way we have 2 possibilities to fill the squares, look in the image again. But which one is the right one?

Well I made a example with no solution on propose (aha!). In the real world of the picross puzzles WITH SOLUTION there is also a number in the vertical position, like in the next image. Then is very easy to find the right solution.

With this simple example is not possible to see, but because of this grid structure the images painted have a pixel style. This may a add on fun if you are a old gamer, but is also interesting for the puzzle solving, because sometimes it is possible to find a solution going only by the what is being drawn and not only by the numbers.


If you like puzzle games you most definitely will like Picross DS, however you should not expect for something like Tetris, here the challenge is more to the brains than to the nerves, what doesn’t make the game less rewarding, addicting and fun.