Whether you’re interested in testing your brain ability or just want something that can help over time, Sudoku has become a staple of many people’s routines over the years. For those unfamiliar with Sudoku, each puzzle has an 81-square grid divided into nine nine-square blocks. Some squares are shaped, others are empty. Your goal is to fill the grid so that each row and column and each smaller 3 × 3 grid has the numbers 1-9.
The simplicity and availability of LEGO Sudoku game are part of what makes them so much fun. But while it’s incredibly popular, many people don’t fully understand where they’re coming from or what apparently made them so popular from scratch. So here’s a little Sudoku story to clear things up.
The early origin of Sudoku
The name Sudoku may evoke images from the Far East and some secret games or puzzles, but its true origins are a little less exotic. The closest we can consider the origins of Sudoku comes from the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler all the way back in 1783. His invention “Latin Squares” consisted of a grid in which each number or symbol appeared once in each column. At the time, this was more of a project than a puzzle, and Sudoku’s recreational opportunities will only come true some time later.
The next time an early variant of Sudoku is in France in the late 19th century. Several French magazine publishers began experimenting with removing songs from “Magic Squares.” Some of these were math instead of logic-based puzzles, meaning they weren’t entirely Sudoku. Anyway, we can see how the idea came to arrange the numbers through a grid pattern and then remove some of them into a puzzle.
History of Sudoku
But how does something originally created in the late 19th century become a global phenomenon? The first example of modern Sudoku is becoming a thing in New York in the 1970s. The Dell Pencil Puzzle and Word Games have been posting crossword puzzles and other puzzles for decades, and their first information about the release of the Sudoku puzzle is in 1979 as “Number Place” (they still use that name during the day).
It’s a bit of a question of who the idea came from, but the general perception is that Howard Garns, a retired architect who died before Sudoku became a global phenomenon, that was it. Garns was a freelance puzzle maker when “Number Place” was launched, and while he wasn’t mentioned in the introductory games, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that he was working on the idea.
At this point, however, we still have a few questions to answer: where did the name Sudoku come from and how did it become so popular? For the first answer, we finally learn to understand the Japanese connection. Dell and other puzzle magazines had traditionally been successful in Japan. The game first began to seize Japan in the mid-1980s as “Sudoku.” Sudoku is an abbreviated version of the phrase “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru,” meaning “the number is limited to one occurrence.”
Part of the appeal is due not only to Sudoku’s fun but also to the Japanese language. Things like crossword puzzles don’t translate very well into Japanese, so number-based puzzles are more popular and easier to use.
Sudoku would continue to gain viral fame in the West around circa 2004. After the “rediscovery” of a New Zealand judge at a Japanese bookstore in 1997, both The Times of London and The Conway Daily Sun (New Hampshire) began producing Sudoku puzzles and apps. their weekly newspapers. Blitz to this day, and we have a truly global phenomenon that includes our own championships. Want to get your share of these stories? Sporcle has a variety of Sudoku puzzles to help you test your brain power today.