Play it on: Nintendo DS (but there are similar games on many platforms)
Current goal: See if it can stump me
In the final days of the Neo Geo Pocket Color’s brief, beautiful life I imported several of the final English-translated games from the UK, and among them was an unassuming cart called Picture Puzzle. Little did I know it would be my gateway into the world of nonograms, a type of logic puzzle in which you deduce the layouts of dots on a grid based on numerical clues, eventually forming a picture. It was love at first furrow.
Though I got my fill of these games over the next few years, I still enjoy the way they scratch my brain, and there’s a near-limitless number of them available for Nintendo handhelds. So it was that I loaded Nintendo’s Picross DS onto my DSi XL this week and once again started deciphering the dots.
I don’t even remember if I’ve played this one before, but as long as the UI is good, and it is in the Nintendo ones, most any nonogram game will do. (Picross DS has some nice music, but stick with the basic blue-on-white color scheme, as many of the alt ones are eye-rending.) One thing I wonder, and I usually drift away before finding out, is if a given nonogram game, in its later stages, will depart from purely logic-based puzzles and start to require—I shudder just typing this—guessing.
I remember feeling some of the late-game Picture Puzzle grids did, but I was young and inexperienced. Even now it’s possible there exist some advanced, logic-based solving techniques that yet elude me. Perhaps this time I’ll stick with Picross DS, which I understand maxes out at monstrous 25×20 grids, long enough to see just how difficult it can really get. — Alexandra Hall