My name is Matthew and I made the mistake/wise choice of making puzzles a large part of my life. I work for Puzumi Puzzles, we distribute puzzles that are artistic in a modern art sort of way, and that have a strategy game twist to them. In short, they’re crack for intellectual nerds with an artistic bent…you know, nerds like me.
This article is about my descent into puzzling madness, how it has stayed in my life over the years and how I allowed it to take over my professional life.
Life is like a box of puzzle pieces
I first started in the puzzling world at the same place everyone else did – putting together jigsaw puzzles by myself and with my family. My mother was a big proponent of these puzzling forays as she’d seek out bigger and more complex puzzles for us to complete every week.
Around this time I tried to enter the mysterious world of the Rubik’s Cube. To summarize this phase of my puzzling life: I was awful at it. Terrible. Laughable. My uncle, meanwhile, could solve any Rubik’s Cube in under 10 minutes. It was like magic as I didn’t understand the mathematical theory behind it at all, and he was a math teacher.
Right around this time is when the Commodore 64 entered my life and I was all about gaming on it, then the NES, the SNES and on and on through the consoles. Puzzles were not a big part of my life anymore, you can blame Mario and Luigi for that!
Puzzles became relevant for me again when smartphones and tablets started giving me puzzles that I could play while riding the bus. Word puzzles were a favorite as I worked on my language and word instincts, which are quite handy for a writer, but I wasn’t above a game of the classic Tetris. The new puzzle games that were coming out were what really caught my attention:
Super Monsters Ate My Condo! – where monsters, well, eat a condo
Cut the Rope – which is a physics based puzzle game where you cut a rope and direct candy towards a hungry alien
Puzzlejuice – combines colors, puzzles and words into a smorgasbord of nerdery
All of this puzzling was nearly more than my brain could handle. I wanted to beat them all!
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Puzzle
About a year ago, while in the midst of all this portable puzzling, I was approached by German, my partner in another web venture, about building up a puzzle company. I was interested at first, I clearly liked puzzles, but I was no longer in the physical puzzle game as I just used mobile apps.
When he first started showing me these puzzles, and explaining the thought process behind them:
- They’re multi-solution so it isn’t always the same puzzle every time you complete it
- The colors and shapes combine to give a modern art look
- You can play competitive strategy games with them
- They’re made from durable acrylic cut glass, not cheap cardboard
I knew it was something I wanted to jump into with both feet. It is easy to see that the modern mobile gaming industry depends heavily on puzzling, and this includes genres of puzzles that are far outside of the typical jigsaw puzzle genre of old – like the Puzumi puzzles.
My initial instinct was that they could be a flattened out Rubik’s Cube for me to fiddle with. They were pretty enough that I could display them and strike up conversations so others could go “oh, he is pretty smart for finishing that” (come on, that’s part of the game!) and they were different enough that they didn’t feel like a jigsaw puzzle from my childhood.
I told German, the now CEO/President//Honcho/I Poke Fun at his Titles of Puzumi, that I was in and I’ve been playing with puzzles professionally ever since! What I would like to hear from the readers of Passion for Puzzles is a story about your history with puzzles. I will bet that there are a number of adult collectors on this site…why are you so puzzled?