Puzzle Series Vol. 5: Slitherlink

And another thing: I hate the way the sun always gets in my eyes in winter. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against me; it did last night when I glided unaware through some dog mess. Got right in the tread. Will probably need a toothbrush to get that out - I hope my flatmate doesn't mind. Still, when you run yourself a hot bath and sink into a cosy bed you can almost forgive the biting cold and animals - escaping the winter is what makes it memorable.

Slitherlink sighted in USA

In shonky Agetec puzzle comp.

Those of you wondering when our old friend Slitherlink is likely to arrive in the West will be alarmed to learn that it sort of already has - having sneaked onto an Agetec/Jaleco puzzle compilation released in the US as "Brain Buster Puzzle Pak" last month.

Puzzle Series Vol. 5: Slitherlink

Puzzle Series Vol. 5: Slitherlink

Loopy for the loops, we are.

I had to be forced to play it. Forced, because my life had been taken over by 1994's Mario's Picross, run on a Gameboy emulator. This was November last year, and it was my first encounter with the block filling puzzles, each so perfectly formed and satisfying to complete. What more could I want from my spare-time fiddling?

But the good Reverend Campbell in his liturgical wisdom forced me to take a break from the Picross frenzy and check out Hudson's fifth game in their Japanese Puzzle Series, Slitherlink. I had a quick look, found the concept less immediately obvious than Picross, and immediately went back. I was on Picross 2 by then, and taking on the huge grids of Wario's puzzles, where wrong answers were ignored to make the challenge even more tough. I can't remember what it was that had me give Slitherlink another go, perhaps more reverential pestering, but, well, I haven't done a Picross since.

I've completed 241 of them so far. While the earlier puzzles can be completed in less than three minutes, I'm now in the fourth difficulty level, due to start puzzle 22, and they're now up to about an hour per grid. Factor in going back to re-do earlier puzzles for the satisfaction of proving how much better at them I am now, and there's been at least 150 hours spent with this wunder-game over the last three or four months, with at least another 100 to go.

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