Puzzle video game

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"Puzzle game" redirects here. For the game of putting puzzle pieces together, see Jigsaw puzzle. For other uses, see Puzzle (disambiguation).

Puzzle video games are a genre of video games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles can test many problem-solving skills including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. The player may have unlimited time or attempts to solve a puzzle, or there may be simple puzzles made difficult by having to complete them in real-time, as in Tetris.

Definition and gameplay[edit]

Puzzle games focus on logical and conceptual challenges, although often the games add time-pressure or other action-elements. Although many action games and adventure games involve puzzles such as obtaining inaccessible objects, a true puzzle game focuses on puzzle solving as the primary gameplay activity.[1] Games usually involve shapes, colors, or symbols, and the player must directly or indirectly manipulate them into a specific pattern.[2]

Rather than presenting a random collection of puzzles to solve, puzzle games typically offer a series of related puzzles that are a variation on a single theme. This theme could involve pattern recognition, logic, or understanding a process. These games usually have a simple set of rules, where players manipulate game pieces on a grid, network or other interaction space. Players must unravel clues in order to achieve some victory condition, which will then allow them to advance to the next level. Completing each puzzle will usually lead to a more difficult challenge, although some games avoid exhausting the player by offering easier levels between more difficult ones.[1]

Types of puzzle games[edit]

Minesweeper, a popular computer puzzle game found on many machines.

There is a large variety of puzzle games. Some feed to the player a random assortment of blocks or pieces that they must organize in the correct manner, such as Tetris, Klax and Lumines. Others present a preset game board or pieces and challenge the player to solve the puzzle by achieving a goal (Bomberman, The Incredible Machine).

Puzzle games are often easy to develop and adapt, being implemented on dedicated arcade units, home video game consoles, personal digital assistants, and mobile phones.

Action puzzle[edit]

An action puzzle or arcade puzzle requires that the player manipulates game pieces in a real-time environment, often on a single screen and with a time limit, to solve the puzzle or clear the level.[3] This is a broad term that has been used to describe several subsets of puzzle game. Firstly, it includes falling-block puzzles such as Tetris and KLAX.[3] It includes games with characters moving through an environment, controlled either directly (Lode Runner) or indirectly (Lemmings).[4] This can cross-over with other action genres: a platform game which requires a novel mechanic to complete levels might be a "puzzle platformer", such as manipulating time in Braid.[5] Finally, it includes other action games that require timing and accuracy with pattern-matching or logic skills, such as the first-person Portal.[6]

Other notable action puzzle games include Team Ico's Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

Hidden object game[edit]

A hidden object game (sometimes called hidden picture) is a genre of puzzle video game in which the player must find items from a list that are hidden within a picture.[7] Hidden object games are a popular trend in casual gaming,[8][9] and are comparatively inexpensive to buy.[7][8] Time-limited trial versions of these games are usually available for download.

An early hidden object game was Alice: An Interactive Museum. Computer Gaming World reported in 1993 that "one disadvantage of searching through screen after screen for 'switches' is that after a while one develops a case of 'clickitus' of the fingers as one repeatedly punches that mouse button like a chicken pecking at a farmyard".[10]

Publishers of hidden object games include Sandlot Games, Big Fish Games, Awem Studio, SpinTop Games, and Codeminion.[7] Examples of hidden object game series include Awakening, Antique Road Trip (both by Boomzap Entertainment), Dream Chronicles (PlayFirst), Mortimer Beckett (RealArcade/GameHouse), Mystery Trackers (by Elephant games), Hidden Expedition and Mystery Case Files (both by Big Fish Games).[11]

Reveal the picture game[edit]

A reveal the picture game is a type of puzzle game that features piece-by-piece revealing of a photo or picture.

Physics game[edit]

The Splatters, a physics based Xbox Live Arcade game

A physics game is a type of puzzle video game wherein the player must use the game's physics to complete each puzzle. Physics games use realistic physics to make games more challenging.[12] The genre is especially popular in online flash games and mobile games. Educators have used these games to demonstrate principles of physics.[13]

Popular physics games include The Incredible Machine, World of Goo, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Peggle, Portal, Portal 2, and Monster Strike.

Tile-matching[edit]

In tile-matching video games, the player manipulates tiles in order to make them disappear according to a matching criterion. They include games of the "falling block" variety such as Tetris, games that require pieces to be swapped such as Bejeweled or Candy Crush Saga, and games in which are pieces are shot on the board such as Zuma. In many recent tile-matching games, the matching criterion is to place a given number of tiles of the same type so that they adjoin each other. That number is often three, and the corresponding subset of tile-matching games is referred to as "match-three games".

Traditional puzzle[edit]

There have also been many digital adaptations of traditional puzzle games, including solitaire and mahjong solitaire. Even familiar word puzzles, number puzzles, and association puzzles have been adapted as games such as Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training.[14]

History[edit]

Origins and popularity[edit]

Puzzle video games owe their origins to brain teasers and puzzles throughout human history. Android Nim (TRS-80, 1979) is a computerized version of the mathematical strategy game Nim.[15] Other traditional, thinking games such as Hangman and Bulls and Cows (commercialized as Mastermind) were popular targets for computer implementation.

Atari's 1978 Flag Capture for the Atari 2600 is a precursor of sorts to Minesweeper.[16]

Blockbuster by Alan Griesemer and Stephen Bradshaw (Atari 8-bit, 1981), is a computerized version of the Rubik's Cube puzzle.[17] Snark Hunt (Atari 8-bit, 1982) is a single-player game of logical deduction,[18] a clone of the 1970s Black Box board game. Sokoban, also from 1982, introduced a new mechanic which hadn't previously been seen before computer games. Sokoban has been widely cloned and its core mechanic incorporated into other games.

An early action game with puzzle elements is Konami's Loco-Motion (1982), elements of which are seen in Pipe Mania from LucasArts, which was released seven years later.

1984's Puzzle Panic for the Atari 8-bit computers specifically uses the word puzzle in the game's title. 1984 also saw the release of the action-puzzle game Boulder Dash, where the goal is to collect diamonds while avoiding or exploiting rocks that fall when the dirt beneath them is removed. It led to a number of clones categorized as "rocks and diamonds games." Uncle Henry's Nuclear Waste Dump (1986) has similarities to Tetris, though it was published prior to Tetris reaching the US, and the author claims he hadn't seen it.[19]

Other early puzzle games include puzzle-platformers such as Door Door (1983),[20] Lode Runner (1983), and Doki Doki Penguin Land (1985),.[21]

Tetris is credited for revolutionizing gaming and popularizing the puzzle genre. The game was created by Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov in 1985, who was inspired by a traditional puzzle game named Pentomino in which players arrange falling blocks into lines without any gaps. The game was a moderate success when released by Spectrum Holobyte for MS-DOS in 1987 and Atari Games in arcades in 1988, but it sold 30 million copies on the Game Boy alone.[2]

Refinement[edit]

The 1990s saw the release of Lemmings, which is considered one of the greatest puzzle games of all time.[22] The game involves a series of creatures who mindlessly walk into deadly situations, and the player assigns jobs to specific lemmings to guide the swarm to a safe destination.[2]

1994 was marked by a surge in interest in mahjong video games from Japan.[23][24]

When Minesweeper was released with Windows 95, mainstream audiences embraced using a mouse to play puzzle games.[25]

In 2001, PopCap Games released a graphically-enhanced clone of an obscure 1994 MS-DOS game, Shariki,[26] where you touch groups of three or more jewels on a grid, causing them to disappear and new stones to fall into place. Even a decade later, this "match three" mechanic was the foundation for popular games, including Candy Crush Saga and Puzzle & Dragons, both from 2012.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rollings, Andrew; Ernest Adams (2006). Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall. 
  2. ^ a b c Miller, Skyler. "History of Puzzle Games". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Action Puzzle Games". allgame. Rovi. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  4. ^ "Capcon looks back on 2009, teases new stuff for 2010". 
  5. ^ Magrino, Tom (August 4, 2009). "Braid tangled up in PSN". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  6. ^ Edge staff (June 15, 2007). "Report: Half-Life: Episode 2 Coming Oct. 9". Edge (Future). 
  7. ^ a b c "Ally Noble Desert Island Disks". Retro Gamer (Imagine Publishing) (53): 79. Hidden object games ... For example, you're a detective looking for clues in a picture ... they might be in monochrome on the wallpaper or peeping out from behind something. 
  8. ^ a b George Roush (October 17, 2008). "Everest: Hidden Expedition iPhone Review". IGN. 
  9. ^ Albert Kim (September 30, 2008). "Casual Games: 'Peggle Nights' and 'The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes'". EW.com. Mystery titles, particularly hidden-object games, have become a hugely popular segment of the casual-game market. 
  10. ^ Reveaux, Tony (April 1993). "A Trip Into The Odd Land of Multi-Media". Computer Gaming World. p. 40. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "First casual game with a 'Collector's Edition'". Game Hunters. USA Today. November 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  12. ^ Ward, Mark (2005-05-14). "Game physics starts to get real". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  13. ^ Thompson, Jane (2007-06-15). "Video games getting deeper". The Star. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  14. ^ Jim Thompson; Barnaby Berbank-Green; Nic Cusworth. Game design course: principles, practice, and techniques. Wiley. pp. 30–31. 
  15. ^ Crawford, Chris. "A Grain of Sand, A Gust of Wind". The Journal of Computer Game Design 5. 
  16. ^ "Flag Capture & Mine Sweeper". July 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Blockbuster". Atari 8-bit Forever. 
  18. ^ Powell, Jordan (February 1983). "Ten Best from APX". Antic. http://www.atarimagazines.com/v1n6/tenbestfromapx.html. 
  19. ^ "Accidental Innovation, Part 1". 
  20. ^ "Door Door". GameSpot. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  21. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/sg1000/916318-dokidoki-penguin-land
  22. ^ Rusel DeMaria; Johnny L. Wilson. High score!: the illustrated history of electronic games. McGraw Hill. 
  23. ^ Mark J. P. Wolf. The video game explosion: a history from PONG to Playstation and beyond. Greenwood Publishing Group. 
  24. ^ Gameplay Net, GamPlay.Net, 2014, retrieved February 1, 2014 
  25. ^ Jeff Fulton; Steve Fulton. The Essential Guide to Flash Games. Apress. 
  26. ^ Hester, Larry (October 21, 2013). "Inside Bejeweled: An Interview with Executive Producer Heather Hazen". Complex.