Do you know...
…Sudoku? An addictive game with a crazy number of possible puzzles - 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 (this hard-to-imagine number is read as 6.67 x 1021) and a phenomenon which started in 2005. It was in that year that Sudoku started spreading massively all over the world. It started spreading at such a speed that Sudoku is still considered the "Game of 2005" or the "Most quickly spreading game". However, the history of this brilliant game, based on a very simple concept of inserting correct numbers into correct cells, goes way back into the past.
History of the birth of Sudoku
Back in ancient times, it was known among the Romans and Greeks as the Magical Square or the so-called square layout of numbers or letters. This concept was also found in ancient China long before Christ. It is also interesting that one of the most popular magical squares mentioned in relation to European art was perpetuated by renowned artist Albrecht Dere (1471 – 1528) in his Melancholy I copperplate. The principle of magical squares is quite similar to today's Sudoku. Judge for yourself. Within such a square of a minimum size of 4x4, the sum of all the numbers in a line, column, diagonal, all the four squares, corner cells, and the 2x2 square in the center must always produce exactly one figure. Since Sudoku requires inserting numbers from 1 to 9 in every 3x3 square, it is clear that their sum will eventually be one given number. The same applies to lines and columns. The inspiration of the magical squares is more than clear. No surprise at all. The basic idea behind Sudoku derives from the thoughts of Swiss mathematician Leonard Euler of the 18th century. They concerned the so-called Ceres Marius, therefore, the aforementioned magical squares. Already at that time, people started experimenting with removing numbers from the magical squares. The game's principle was based on inserting the correct numbers. Despite the fact that various forms of today's Sudoku had already been mentioned in French papers in the 19th and early 20th century, American developer of logical games and crosswords for the New York Times, Wall Short, says that modern Sudoku was probably designed by Howard Garns. His game was called Number Place. It appeared in America for the first time in 1979. Garns, a retired architect and occasional teaser developer was 74 at that time. He died in 1989; therefore, he did not witness the massive spread of the game.
The name "Sudoku" only appears after 1984 when Number Place was introduced in Japan as Suji wa dokushin ni kagiru, which means "Figure which stands separately". This long name was eventually shortened to Sudoku, which persists to this day. The Sudoku teaser was quite popular among the Japanese; however, it took more than twenty years before it became a world phenomenon.
Sudoku´s Growing Popularity in the World
Sudoku became extremely popular in Western culture also thanks to former Hong Kong judge Wayne Gould. One day, he saw a partially completed Sudoku at a Japanese store and then got the idea to create a computer program to generate teasers. Its development eventually took more than six years; however, he was able to approach the world with this program in his hands. First, Gould decided to address British papers. He knew of their rich history of publishing various crosswords and games. His assumption was not wrong. The Times printed Sudoku for the first time on 12 November 2004, using the name Su Doku. The response was almost immediate. Already on the next day, one of the readers "complained" that he had missed his underground stop due to solving Sudoku. This far from rare story is said to have started the huge Sudoku mania, which spread all over Britain and later on all over the whole world. Already a few months later, Sudoku moved from the side columns and last pages to the first pages and special paper issues and inserts. From there, it was only a small step to other media. Sudoku was soon being played via teletext, and various TV Sudoku contests were produced, including a special Sudoku issue with 16x16 cells. Specialized Sudoku software developers seized the opportunity as well. As a result, it was possible to see games for mobile phones, touch phones, tablets, consoles, and PCs as well One of the most popular video games to bring Sudoku was Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!, which was quickly praised by the general public and game critics. More than 8 million copies were sold. At that time, Sudoku was popular not only in Britain. Thanks to modern technology such as touch phones, tablets, and especially the Internet, the Sudoku mania spread like wildfire. The teaser hit everybody. The elderly, young, short, tall, healthy, sick, students, and the employed. Soon, everybody was solving. On their way to work and from work by underground, at work or at school. In 2008, there was even a case when court proceedings had to be interrupted because the jurors were solving Sudoku instead of listening to the prosecutor's speech on collected evidence. One thing may be stated with certainty. 2005 really was the year of Sudoku. This game definitely reached every corner of the world and became popular everywhere.
What is Sudoku all about?
The Sudoku table is a square with sides comprising 9 cells divided into 9 smaller squares (blocks) with sides comprising 3 cells. Some cells feature 1 pre-inserted number. The goal of the game is to insert the remaining number in the empty cells within the shortest possible time. Every line, column, and block must feature only the numbers 1-9. That means that no line, column, or highlighted block may feature the same number twice. It sounds simple, but Sudoku solving times may still vary from a few minutes in the case of the easiest puzzles, to more than one hour when the most difficult puzzles are being solved. Successful teaser solving requires perfect and flawless concentration, persistence, and mainly commitment! As a result, solving Sudoku often becomes a fight with oneself. It may become highly addictive and stimulate some people to overcome increasingly greater challenges, which Sudoku offers!