Category Archives: Games and Puzzles

Ten Billion by Nintendo – A Computer Solution

Nintendo Ten Billion BarrelFew people perhaps realize that Nintendo® have been around for a very long time. The company was originally founded back in 1889 in Kyoto, Japan and manufactured playing cards for decades before trying more diverse business ventures in the 1960’s. Nintendo experimented with taxi services, a chain of “love hotels”, instant rice and a TV network; all failed. They were more successful with moves into the toy industry in 1966, including some early electronic games – but Game and Watch in 1980, and Donkey Kong in 1981, saw the company become the video game giant it is known as today. Long-time Nintendo employee Gunpei Yokoi was the creator of Game and Watch, and the highly successful Game Boy, and invented the ubiquitous “D-pad” direction controller. In his spare time, Yokoi also invented the Ten Billion Barrel puzzle. It is one of the most difficult puzzles of its kind. With the aid of a computer algebra system, can an efficient solution be found? Continue reading

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Intermittent Positive Reinforcement in Puzzle & Dragons

Intermittent Positive Reinforcement in Puzzle & DragonsI’ll freely admit it; I’m addicted to Puzzle & Dragons, and I’m certainly not the only one. I have clocked up my 211th consecutive day playing what reviewers have described as “portable crack“, and I’m surprised at that. There have been plenty of casual gaming titles that have kept me interested briefly, but nothing has come close to 211 consecutive days of logging on, without fail. When I needed to replace my phone, my PAD game state was the only thing I worried about backing up. How has it managed to keep me interested? By consistently and successfully applying principles of “intermittent positive reinforcement”.

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