Computer puzzle game is a genre of computer games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles involved can involve logic, strategy, pattern recognition, sequence solving, word completion or, in some cases, just pure luck.

A personal computer game (also known as a computer game or simply PC game) is a video game played on a personal computer, rather than on a video game console or arcade machine. Computer games have evolved from the simple graphics and gameplay of early titles like Spacewar!, to a wide range of more visually advanced titles, although the computer game market has been declining in the United States since 1999.

PC games are created by one or more game developers, often in conjunction with other specialists (such as game artists) and either published independently or through a third party publisher. They may then be distributed on physical media such as DVDs and CDs, as Internet-downloadable shareware, or through online delivery services such as Direct2Drive and Steam. PC games often require specialised hardware in the user’s computer in order to play, such as a specific generation of graphics processing unit or an Internet connection for online play, although these system requirements vary from game to game.

Computer games and game addiction are often the subject of criticism, focusing largely on the influence of objectionable content and prolonged gameplay on minors. The Entertainment Software Association and other groups maintain that parents are responsible for moderating their children’s behaviour, although the controversy has prompted attempts to control the sale of certain games in the United States.

A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often “winning”. Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand by its nature of being extensively premeditated, and often practically rehearsed.

The word derives from the Greek word stratēgos, which derives from two words: stratos (army) and ago (ancient Greek for leading or guiding or moving to). Stratēgos referred to a ‘military commander’ during the age of Athenian Democracy.

Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, account, reason or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration.

As a formal science, logic investigates and classifies the structure of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of inference and through the study of arguments in natural language. The scope of logic is therefore large, ranging from core topics such as the study of fallacies and paradoxes, to specialized analyses of reasoning using probability and to arguments involving causality. Logic is also commonly used today in argumentation theory.

Traditionally, logic is studied as a branch of philosophy, one part of the classical trivium, which consisted of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Since the mid-nineteenth century formal logic has been studied as the foundation of mathematics. In 1903 Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead established logic as the cornerstone of mathematics with the publication of Principia Mathematica. The development of formal logic and its implementation in computing machinery is the foundation of computer science.


The genre can be difficult to describe: the gameplay is usually abstract (but not always) often involving arranging geometric shapes to fulfill some goal or constraint. Often edge matching or colour matching plays an important role. Puzzle games usually strive to have a pick-up-and-play accessibility to them and to have an addictive quality. They are popular with travelers and commuters for the same general reasons as the airport novel: Low bars to accessibility, moderate levels of personal involvement, and a relatively easy and painless mode of abandoning and reaccessing one’s progress in the event of being jostled or moved. They provide a welcome distraction from the jostling and inconvenience of travel.

Types of game

Some puzzle games feed the player a random assortment of blocks or pieces that they must organize in the correct manner, such as Tetris, Klax and Lumines. Others present a preset game board and/or pieces and challenge the player to solve the puzzle by achieving a goal (Bomberman, The Incredible Machine). Some of the games in the former category have a mode that plays like the latter. For example, in both Tetrisphere and Tetris Attack, there is an actual “puzzle mode” in which the player must clear a pre-defined board within a certain amount of moves.

Some games are not puzzle games, yet contain many puzzle elements, such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill and the Legend of Zelda series.

Because puzzle games are often so abstract, the term is sometimes used as a blanket term for games with unique and otherwise indescribable gameplay. Every Extend Extra is an example of this.

Puzzle games are often easy to develop and adapt: from dedicated arcade units, to home video game consoles, to personal digital assistants and mobile phones.

The game Minesweeper is notable because of the large installed user base (the game comes bundled with the Microsoft Windows operating system).

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