Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Conceptis

The wonderful thing I have been waiting for over a year has finally come true; Conceptis puzzles launched the new website. That is the main reason for my blog silence; I have been answering questions on the forums, but more importantly: I have been puzzling on the computer. During the winter I did not have much time to do that and most of the puzzles I did on paper. Conceptis warns on the login page that the puzzles are highly addictive and I can verify that. I am a living proof: once a puzzleholic, always a puzzleholic!

The new site is based on Flash and uses pure CSS and XHTML. All the pages have a light peaceful colouring and beautiful pictures. Here is part of the header:

The pictures are small Flash animations. When you place your cursor over the coffee mugs they start steaming. Conceptis publishes 11 different types of puzzles at the moment. There are 5 types of picture logic puzzles, Pic-A-Pix (nonograms), Link-A-Pix (connecting pixels with a path of certain length), Fill-A-Pix (very much like minesweeper), Maze-A-Pix (solving labyrinths) and Dot-A-Pix (connecting dots). Picture puzzles are my favourite because solving each puzzle gives you a rewarding beautiful picture. LAPs, MAPs and DAPs are mostly very easy but sometimes fun to do when I feel not able to concentrate on demanding challenges. FAPs were very much fun at first but at the moment I am in the crossroads with them. The basic logic puzzles are too easy and the advanced logic puzzles have demanded too much logic for my impatient mind. But now I have the feeling that I am finally starting to get progress. The online puzzles can be saved and I can do a small area at a time. Leaving the puzzle for a while makes miracles. PAPs I love passionately.

The 6 number logic puzzles are Sudoku, Kakuro, Battleships, Hitori, Slitherlink and Hashi. Being a maths teacher has made me a bit reluctant towards them. Working with numbers is not exactly my favourite pastime activity. At the moment Sudokus and Kakuros are playable online and I have solved 4 Kakuro’s this week and that is more than I have ever done before. The game shows me the possible combinations and I don’t have to do the basic arithmetical calculations in my head!

I’ll be posting about these puzzles more later, but let’s take a tour on the wonderful site. The main page has links to the puzzle pages and each link is a combination of a picture and a small Flash tutorial. When you place your cursor over the link, the small tutorial shows how that type is solved. Great for new puzzlers since it takes time to get used to all the names. Here is a picture of those links to PAPs and LAPs:

Let’s dig deeper. The PAP link reveals a page with links to rules, tutorials, history, stories…

There are also new picture thumbnails which are telling you: Go! All these puzzles are a little bit different from each other, B/W, colour, Mega… let’s choose the 2Colour Octopus.

At this point you are of course waiting for the game to open, but no, there are more surprises. A new page with different 2Colour pictures opens and now the pictures are telling you to play! This site contains altogether 7 puzzles to choose from, with different sizes and different colours. Now when you click on the pictures you are finally able to start solving.

After solving the first you start to wonder where you are going to get more when you have solved these. Well, we passed many pages but they will be finished soon anyway. At the bottom of the page is the solution: a treasure trunk which says "More free Pic-a-Pix". When you take your cursor to the trunk it opens and starts to sparkle. My image in just a snapshot. The original is again a Flash animation. When I first time saw it, I suddenly had no hurry to continue; I was just staring at the beautiful scene on my screen.

At this point you have to register to see what is in the trunk. The registration is free. There you get the warning about the puzzles being addictive. After registration you get this page titled My Conceptis:

These thumbnails lead to the free weekly puzzles. At the moment DAPs and Hashis are still missing from the normal set of puzzles. Also MAPs, Hitori’s , Battleships and Slitherlinks are missing the online game, but you can print them on paper. The online puzzles can be saved on your computer and their thumbnails show the state where you saved them. I am not showing my PAP page, because I have almost finished them all. I don’t want to spoil antibody's fun by revealing the pictures. The games are just wonderful! There are features which will probably be changed for the better later, but at the moment small inconvenience could not bother me. I am enjoying every moment and I have even done something I have not probably done in two years. I am solving also the B/W PAPs online. I have always preferred paper but now the game just drags me to play…

My Conceptis also contains the weekly review puzzle. Sending a review to Conceptis gives you a chance to win a T-shirt. It is also very original this year. You have to solve it first using pens suitable for fabrics.

When you want a break from the puzzles you can go to read articles, news and lots of other things from my Conceptis page. You can also go to the links from the Info link on the header. What ever route you choose, you get a page with one puzzle to play again :) This one is on the Info page.

and these links show up:

I have been a member for 3 years, but I still read the old articles. There are interesting things about the history of the puzzles and of course pictures. I particularly like the articles “The story of Conceptis: how it all began”, which has some cool pictures from the past and “Bringing Nikoli's puzzles from Japan to the west” written by the President of Nikoli telling among other things about Dave’s and Gil’s visit to Japan.

I hope I did not reveal too much. Everyone can explore the site themselves. Just remember to look around also other things than puzzles. I will write more about solving the puzzles. Conceptis has great tutorials and you can start now but I think I am going to start with even more simple examples.

There is an appetizer for you here (link two squares with the same number using a path of the same length as the squares indicate.

You can get one to your own blog too from this link and you can start your journey to the wonderful land of puzzles here.

Happy Puzzling!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a readable and informative post - sounds really interesting, and tempting.
I'm afraid I would be addicted though :-)

Wishing you a happy puzzle weekend!