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Swipe This!: The Guide to Great Touchscreen Game Design by Scott Rogers

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Chapter 5: Puzzlings

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Puzzle games. What are they? Word scrambles? Math problems? Sudoku? Angry Birds? That game your mom likes where she tries to find rose hips hidden in the haunted attic? It’s a riddle—hey wait, that’s a puzzle too! And the answer is . . . all of the above!

Puzzle games comprise the broadest classification in the gaming universe. They’ve been played by humans (and a couple of very smart farm animals) for thousands of years. With each new form of technology that comes along, puzzle games have not been far behind. One of the first video games ever was Noughts and Crosses,1 programmed by A.S. Douglas in 1952 on EDSAC. The EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) was a computer seven feet tall (the vacuum tubes alone were 6 feet!) that filled up an entire room at the University of Cambridge’s Mathematics Laboratory. Fortunately for our pants pockets, gaming systems have become a lot smaller!

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Puzzle games and handheld gaming have always gone . . . well, hand in hand. Nintendo’s Game Boy skyrocketed to success, partially thanks to the inclusion of Tetris with the system. Nintendo again acknowledged the power and importance of the puzzle game during the company’s 2006 Game Developers Conference keynote speech when Nintendo Chairman Satoru Iwata gave attendees ...

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