September 26, 2002 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Nonograms (also known as "Griddlers" or "Paint By Numbers") were invented by Non Ishida in 1987. Originally trying to design pictures that could be created by turning the lights on or off in the windows of skyscrapers, Ishida soon realized that the same principle could used as the basis for a new genre of logic puzzle. Since then, enigmatologists around the world have wasted hours solving them online and completing entire books of these elegant brainteasers.
posted by Shadowkeeper (16 comments total)
I should point out that Non Ishida is one of several people credited with the invention of Nonograms. I should also point out that, if you enjoy puzzles, you'll want to stay the hell away from that "solving them online" link if you have any projects with a Friday deadline. If that site gets MeFi'd, here's an extensive list of other online Nonogram sites.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 10:17 AM on September 26, 2002

Thanks, Shadowkeeper! I love these puzzles! Every time I travel I buy the latest edition of Games magazine, and these are my favorite section.
posted by starvingartist at 10:22 AM on September 26, 2002

What did I say?
posted by starvingartist at 10:55 AM on September 26, 2002

grumble grumble... so much to do today... grumble grumble... not enough hours... grumble complain... deadlines looming... grumble grumble... well, I'll just check Metafilter for a moment and... hey! What's this Nonogram site? Ah, work can wait until Friday. Or maybe Monday. Thanks for the link.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:07 AM on September 26, 2002

Cool, I'm an enigmatologist! And to think that I never knew this about myself. Well, I just finished the first easy one and am well on my way to solving the next one. Now I have something to do while my boy naps for the afternoon.

Neat link, shadowkeeper--thanks!
posted by ashbury at 11:24 AM on September 26, 2002

Thank you, Shadowkeeper. I think you've saved my marriage. Now I can stop hiding my Games Magazines under my side of the mattress. Paint By Numbers are such addictive little stinkers.
posted by iconomy at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2002

I was addicted to Mario Picross for the Game Boy back in its day. I had tried finding more about the game, thinking they were always called "picross", but no luck... until now!
posted by patgas at 12:14 PM on September 26, 2002

Nonograms rule - they're one of the few games that work pretty well on a handheld.
posted by badstone at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2002

Hey I already have that book! Why haven't they come out with another one?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:21 PM on September 26, 2002

Gravy: Tah-dah!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 4:02 PM on September 26, 2002

Thank you, Shadowkeeper. That'll give me something to do on those long plane rides to LA.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:13 PM on September 26, 2002

Yeah, I've been hooked on these bad boys since about 1994. I got some super-sized books when I was in Japan (with full-page pixel pics of Audrey Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart -- pretty cool.)

The books linked to by Shadowkeeper are by Conceptis Tech, an Israeli company that I've been "testing" puzzles for for over a year now. If you join their site (which is free), you can take a look at the puzzle they made of my face.
posted by meep at 6:34 PM on September 26, 2002

I've obsessively done these puzzles in Games magazine for years, but never heard the term "nonograms" before. I like it.. it sounds a little more austere to the uninitiated than "paint-by-number puzzles". Thanks for the great links, Shadowkeeper: Now I'm not going to sleep all weekend!
posted by jess at 6:35 PM on September 26, 2002

Thanks for the links! I've been living outside the US, with no access to my beloved "Games Magazine" for many years now, and missed the invasion of the nonogram. These are great fun!
posted by taz at 11:01 PM on September 26, 2002

Curse you, Shadowkeeper. Now I'll never get to bed.
posted by stefanie at 11:49 PM on September 26, 2002

Just so you guys know, there's a program of these available from Everett Kaser, at called Descartes Enigma. It's about 20 bucks, but there's a shareware with a bunch of 'em. Would have commented earlier, but I wanted to wait to check these out till I had a few free minutes.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:27 PM on September 29, 2002

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