History of the Puzzle Game – How the Genre Came to Be

Puzzle game is a unique gaming genre that focuses on solving puzzles. It tests the player’s problem-solving skills that include pattern recognition, word completion, sequence solving, and logic. Some games have a time limit, while other games provide players with unlimited time and attempts. The history of the puzzle game goes back to the puzzles and brainteasers throughout the centuries.

Traditional Thinking Games

Many puzzle games owe their origins to traditional thinking games. For instance, Android Nim for the TRS-80 is the digital version of the math game Nim. Other traditional games that got their early video game interpretations include Mastermind and Hangman.

Atari Puzzle Games

The first video game console from Atari is the Atari 2600. It was released in 1977, and game developers were quick to create games for it. The first ever puzzle game for the console was probably Flag Capture, which was the predecessor of what we know today as Minesweeper.

In 1981, Stephen Bradshaw and Alan Griesemer released Blockbuster for the Atari 8-bit. It was a digital version of the Rubik’s cube that was popular during that time. In 1982, Snark Hunt was released for the Atari 8-Bit. It was a copy of the popular board game Black Box from the 1970s.

Innovative Sokoban Game Mechanic

It was also in 1982 when Hiroyuki Imabayashi released Sokoban for the PC-8801. It introduced a brand new mechanic that was not seen in the history of the puzzle game before. To this date, many modern games utilise the core mechanic of Sokoban, and it is not just limited to puzzle games.

Action Games with Puzzles

Konami released Loco-Motion in 1982, which is an action game that incorporated some puzzle game elements. You can see some of the game’s elements in LucasArts’ Pipe Mania released in 1989.

Puzzle Panic is a 1984 action puzzle game for the Atari 8-bit. It is also that year when Boulder Dash was released. Its gameplay featured avoiding rocks and collecting diamonds. It led to many clones known as rocks and diamonds games.

Chain Shot introduced a gameplay in which players need to remove tiles of the same colour. Uncle Henry’s Nuclear Waste Dump was similar to Tetris, but the game developer said that that he didn’t know about the latter. The release of the game was before Tetris reached the US market.

The Great Tetris

The release of Tetris is a golden age in the history of the puzzle game. People call it as the game that revolutionised the puzzle genre. Alexey Pajitnov, a Russian game designer, made the game in 1985. He said that he was inspired by Pentomino, which is a traditional puzzle game where players try to arrange falling blocks without producing any gaps.

In 1987, Tetris became a hit when Spectrum Holobytehas released it for MS-DOS. The next year, Atari Games released it in arcades. The game sold more than 30 million units on the Game Boy.

This is the short history of the puzzle game. At present, puzzle games remain to be popular among gamers. People love playing puzzle games, especially with their smartphones.