It may sound surreal but in an age where bubblegum pop music has successfully reinvented itself as punk rock through the likes of Avril Lavigne and Simple Plan, a mystery and a number puzzle at that is able to establish itself as a global phenomenon. Sudoku, which may be spelled as Su Doku, is pronounced as soo-doe-koo. It is an abbreviation of the Japanese phrase suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru which means the digits must remain single. Most people are under the incorrect impression that sudoku is of Japanese origin when the only thing Japanese about sudoku is the word sudoku.
Nikoli Publishing House Nikoli is the writer of the leading Japanese mystery publication Monthly Nikolist. The think tanks of Nikoli noticed an interesting number puzzle known as the Number Place released by their American counterparts, Dell Puzzle Magazines. It was initially christened Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru by Kaji Maki, Nikoli’s incumbent president at that time. Its success is due in large part to how the Japanese individuals are inherently puzzle-crazy.
It wasn’t until two significant developments occurred the puzzle began to really catch fire. First, the name suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru was shortened to sudoku which was easier to remember and to promote. Second, Nikoli altered the game by introducing two new rules in 1986: the digits of are to be arranged symmetrically; and the given numbers are not to exceed 30 digits. As of today, there are five publishing companies that publish monthly magazines solely devoted to the game in Japan. Sudoku is, for all intents and purposes, a brand name; it is not the generic name of the game. It is a officially registered mark of the Nikoli Company in Japan. This means that the other publishers of this game in Japan are legally obligated to provide their own brand names for their versions of the popular number puzzle.
Produced in Manhattan According to urban legends, sudoku was created by a team of puzzle creators from New York. Another version of the story credits a certain Howard Gerns, a retired architect and mystery enthusiast, as the true father of the modern sudoku. Although the legends conflict and provide credit to different inventors, they coincide on two important details:
Sudoku was first published in 1979 by Dell Puzzle Magazines under the name The Number Position; and Gerns and the team of puzzle creators were both motivated by the Latin Square of Leonhard Euler. Sudoku: The Old Testament Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, presented a paper entitled De Quadratis Magicis prior to the St. Petersburg Academy in 1776. Euler demonstrated a magic square can be created through the use of 9, 16, 25 or 36 cells. He imposed conditions on the value of his number factors to bring about the creation of his magic square. His magic square evolved into the Latin square in his later papers.
The versions of Gerns and the team of puzzlers differ from Euler in two ways: First, Euler’s Latin square doesn’t have a regional limitation; and Second, Euler neither generated nor did he plan to create a mystery. On the other hand, Gerns and the team saw the possibility of a hit mystery in Euler’s functions and proceeded to create the grandfather of modern day sudoki with this particular state of mind.
In 2004, he found himself pitching an unknown mystery named Su Doku to The Times of Britain. The results were overwhelming; within a few days, other newspapers began printing their own variations of this game. The popularity of this game snowballed and spilled over to Australia and New Zealand. By 2005, it had earned the moniker the fastest growing puzzle in the world. What Goes Around, Comes Around American papers caught wind of this sensation created by sudoku in Britain and the rest of the world, and found themselves jumping on the sudoku bandwagon. The New York Post published its own version of sudoku in April of 2005; this marked the homecoming and belated public approval of a New York native who went undetected in its own backyard since its birth for at least 20 years.
Within a few days sudoku made its presence felt across the country when major dailies such as USA Today and The Daily News began replacing their normal crosswords with the game. The appeal of contemporary sudoku is apparently infinite and without bounds. As a number puzzle, it doesn’t take advantage of letters from any specific language; hence easily dispensing with the language barrier factor. The numerous websites that offer digital versions of this game, for free or for fee, guarantees the game’s constant development and improvement; it also provides a platform accessible to the younger population.
Sudoku has gone mobile as companies race to make sudoku games specifically for mobile phone users. Sudoku is a game of logic which challenges the young and old alike. In reality, studies on the mental benefits of playing sudoku have been conducted; and the results have been favorable thus far. From the fastest growing puzzle in the world, sudoku has developed to the most contagious puzzle virus the world has seen in years. Go and play with sudoku.