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March 2006 | Vol. V - No. 3
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Sudoku Popularity Not So Puzzling

European Sudoku Frenzy Catches in United States


“Those with more features and higher resolution screens are the most liked by customers.” Sam Marcos, Bullseye Media Inc.
The popularity of the one-digit Sudoku electronic puzzles, developed from the forerunning puzzles that appear in newspapers, is just beginning to grow in the United States, said Sam Marcos, buyer for Sudoku-Electronic-Puzzles.com, a division of Bullseye Media Inc. in Kansas City, Mo. Bullseye is an importer of the electronic puzzles, which currently don’t have a brand name, Marcos explained.

“There are several varieties with different chips and different features that influence what the puzzles can do, and therefore influence what the customers choose,” Marcos said. “Those with more features and higher resolution screens are the most liked by customers.”

However, the games are too new to determine which one is the most popular, he said. “It’s just catching on here, and as the Sudoku puzzles appear in more newspapers, these games become more popular.”

And the catching on seems to be apparent in the Target store at Glenbrook Square in Fort Wayne, Ind., where a store associate reported that all of the Sudoku games had been sold out as of early December and several calls had been received about the electronic puzzles. In the nearby KB Toys store, only two of the handheld puzzles remained.

Marcos said that although some of the larger stores do carry the games, the majority of those sold wholesale by his company are to small retailers, kiosk and video game stores. “They like the blister carded game [those in blister plastic that can be hung for display], and don’t care which one, just something that can be placed out and seen,” he said.

The popular games require the player to enter a numeral from one through nine in each cell of a 9-by-9 grid made up of 3-by-3 sub-grids called "regions." Some cells already have numerals written in them. Each row, column and region must contain each numeral only once. In addition to the 9-by-9 grid with the 3-by-3 regions, there are other variations that can be used, including 4-by-4 grids with 2-by-2 regions.

The puzzle games are recommended by Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, better known as Dr. Toy. Puzzles in general, Auerbach said, “can help to build language and concentration.” She added that she’s glad to see them gaining interest.

What follows is more information on a few Sudoku products.





MSRP: $39.95
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



This electronic handheld Sudoku puzzle with dry-erase grids is easy to use with a clear LCD display, three levels of difficulty and hints to answers. Players can handwrite answers on the laminated grids provided. There are three card sets for children, intermediates and seasoned players. It even saves unfinished puzzle grids in its memory and allows users to check individual square answers with a special “reveal” function. There is a Hall of Fame too for players with maximum scores. There are 10 double-sided grid cards (20 grid patterns) over 6 x 6, 9 x 9 and 12 x 12 grid formations, with three difficulty levels per grid type.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6054      (added 12/19/2005)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



This pocket-sized game has more than 100,000 puzzles. Players simply fill in the grid so that every row, column and 3 x 3 box contains the number 1 through 9. With both beginner and advanced modes, anyone can learn to master the ultimate logic puzzle. In beginner mode the game will flash if the wrong number is put into a cell, and players can save unfinished games. One CR-2032 battery is included.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6055      (added 12/19/2005)
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MSRP: $34.95
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



This game includes 1 million puzzles, an alarm clock, a memo function and a help function that gives the correct answer for any cell — up to four times per game. This Sudoku electronic puzzle is top of the line with a super-high-resolution, large HTN-type LCD display for easy playing. It measures 4.5” × 6”, has five skill levels, can save games for later play and requires 2 AAA batteries.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6056      (added 12/19/2005)
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MSRP: $34.95
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



Complete with 1,000,000 puzzles, this game comes with a high resolution 2" by 3" LCD display for easy viewing and an alarm clock with timer. The help button will give the correct answer for any cell — up to four times per game. It has five skill levels, a memo function that stores possible answers in the cell for later recall and requires 2 AAA batteries.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6057      (added 12/19/2005)
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AD


MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: All Ages
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



This electronic game allows play on the go; even the current daily game from the local newspaper can be input. It has four skill levels for players of all ages and ability. With 10,000 games, the unit measures about 6" by 2.5" and requires 3 AAA batteries.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6058      (added 12/19/2005)
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Age Range: 5 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



Sudoku is a logic-based placement puzzle taking the world by storm. It has been called the "Rubik's Cube of the 21st century." Now players can challenge themselves at anytime, anywhere without paper and pen. This product features include one million random puzzles, four levels of difficulty, large LCD display, help function, timer and clock function.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5968      (added 12/14/2005)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 10 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Electronic Games



This is an electronic handheld version of the popular pencil puzzle game that's sweeping the nation. With a million random puzzles and a super big LCD, this is a gift worthy of any Sudoku master.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5946      (added 12/14/2005)
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MSRP: $11.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games



From Australia comes a new board game based on the Sudoku craze that's taken over the country. This addictive number puzzle game has already been ordered by Toys "R" Us, according to a Sudoku Web site. The exciting new game combines the logic rules of Sudoku with a random element introduced by throwing a die to make a fast and compulsive game that can be enjoyed by two or more players. "Its the first multiplayer Sudoku game," Nora Wong, director of marketing for Imagination Entertainment, told TDmonthly Magazine.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5727      (added 11/29/2005)
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Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books



Sudoku (or Su Doku) requires filling in a nine-by-nine-square grid so that each column, row and nine smaller three-by-three-square grids contain the digits 1 through 9. It requires no mathematical skill, and eliminates the language barriers created by other puzzles.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5465      (added 11/10/2005)
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Terri Hughes-LazzellWriter's Bio: Terri Hughes-Lazzell is a freelance journalist based in Ossian, Ind. After spending nearly a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, she has worked as a freelance journalist for more than ten years, writing about a variety of topics. Her work appears in newspapers, magazines and specialty publications nationwide. Read more articles by this author

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