I’ve never really been into jigsaw puzzles; I could never see the point of them. The mother of an old friend of mine really seemed to enjoy them: I bought her a puzzle once as a gift: it was a circular one, and all of the pieces were the same colour. It was meant as a jest.
… She finished it (!)
And then, not so long ago, everything changed. Steam* tells me that I’ve been playing Super Jigsaw Puzzle: Cities (which I’ll refer to from now on as ‘SJP:C’) for 36 hours in the past few weeks. In that time I’ve completed over 80 puzzles. I started off with the 40 piece puzzles, then moved on to the 80-piece ones, and now I’m doing the 200-piece ones. (The next step, and it will be a biggie, will be to the 400-piece puzzles).
It turns out that jigsaw puzzles scratch an itch I didn’t know I had.
I’m still not clear what the attraction is. I find it very satisfying to play a piece that fits, and then to complete a puzzle; it’s quite relaxing to ponder the image as it grows, trying to find the next piece to place.
SJP:C isn’t like a real jigsaw, mind: there are several important differences. Apart from being played on a screen rather than a table, the biggest distinction is that the pieces are all correctly oriented; so there’s no tedious turning them around to try to figure out where they fit. Some might call this ‘cheating’, and I can’t disagree. Another thing that SJP:C does is that it snaps the pieces to their places, to a generous degree… although I can’t say that this is a disadvantage to play, since by the time I have a piece near its predestined space it’s often clear that this is where it belongs.
Although virtual, the pieces in SJP:C have a good depth to them. Unlike some other digital jigsaws, these pieces ‘feel’ solid and chunky. They click into place when you find one that fits another, and there’s a satisfying ‘pling’ sound when you place one on its predestined space.
The music that comes with the game is pleasant enough. I’m no musician: I wish that the tune was ‘circular’ — I can tell when it restarts, and I find that somewhat jarring — and I would prefer it if it had more variety. Of course you could tell me to plug into my own choice of music, but the music that comes with the game does tend to elicit a certain agreeable mood.
I’m a newbie to completing these puzzles, but this is how I go about it:
- Find and place all the edge pieces
- While I’m doing that, sort out all the pieces of a similar colour (such as the sky)
- Place the pieces collected in (2), using trial and error
- Look for distinctive features in individual pieces
- Finish off by looking for piece edges that match the existing placements — as the puzzle nears completion, this becomes easier and easier
There are in total thirty jigsaw puzzles in SJP:C, each depicting a major city: Paris, Tokyo, Havana, Beijing and so on. They’re graded in difficulty from ‘very easy’ to ‘extreme’ (which are a real challenge!) I’m a little over halfway through them. After I’ve finished these, though, there are other ‘Super Jigsaw Puzzle’ collections, including ‘Monuments’, ‘Space’, and ‘Anime Reloaded’. I suspect that my new-found pastime will eventually result in me doing those puzzles, too :)
* If you’re on Steam, look me up — my handle over there is ‘pendantry‘.