When we were children, me, my brother and sister would sit in the family room and do jigsaw puzzles. I don't want to say exactly how old I am, (my mainly salt and little pepper beard gives a good indication), but back then there was no such thing as cable television. There were only 4 channels that were hard to get, even though you tried positioning the antenna a thousand different ways. You had to be able to make your own entertainment and our family's favorite was jigsaw puzzles.
My brother and I would make a contest of it, while my sister would calmly find the pieces and fit them into the puzzle. She always completed more of the puzzle than we did, but that didn't stop us from proclaiming that we had done the most to complete the puzzle.
Now, instead of buying puzzles at the store, I put them together online. I have to tell you, of all the advanced technology out there, the ones that have been put into puzzle games amaze me the most. These are interactive puzzles that allow you to drag the pieces around the screen to form it. It may sound boring, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
My favorite game site, Big Fish Games, has puzzles that come to life as they take shape. There's one particular game that uses the ocean as a background. You start putting the puzzle together and as the fish shapes are completed, they take on life and begin moving about the screen. Way too cool, as my son would say. Somehow, they've managed to give the puzzles a 3D effect, which makes them even more beautiful when they are completed. The details are so fine, that you feel like you are actually in the room shown in the puzzle.
Another of my favorite puzzles blends objects into the picture and you have to find them all in a certain amount of time. Some of the objects are easy to locate, but others are so well hidden, it's hard to locate them. You can get hints to their location and I am always shocked that I didn't see them earlier, since they appear to have been "hidden" in plain view. These games are excellent to sharpen your observation skills and provide exercise for your mind. Body fitness is given tons of attention, but little is given to how to keep your mind in shape. Puzzle games are a great way to do this and provide a lot of entertainment at the same time.
If you really want to get on a mental treadmill, try the games that make you find the differences in pictures. It might seem easy, but it isn't. This weekend my sister is coming for dinner and I'm going to introduce her to these games. Finally, after all of these years, I think I may actually best her at a puzzle.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as puzzle gifts at http://www.puzzleandgamegifts.com.