Sudoku fans, rejoice: Web sites recognize the craze and will let you play Sudoku online for free! For those of you who haven’t yet discovered the Sudoku game phenomenon, you can experience it for yourself as learn to play Sudoku online for free.
What is Sudoku? Just as the name suggests, it’s Japanese. Specifically, Sudoku is a numbers logic puzzle that has gripped large parts of the world and has finally reached America. Before you go, “ugh, numbers”, read on; you won’t be disappointed. While some newspapers and magazines have carried it as well as paid online gaming sites, thousands have been begging big portal-type Web sites to offer access to play Sudoku online for free access. Finally, this is beginning to happen as services recognize the game’s popularity and its ability to bring a large number of people – many who don’t normally game – to visit.
With Sudoku, you have a 9×9 grid, divided up into rows and columns as well as nine 3×3 grids. To solve a game, you must use all the numbers 1-9 inclusive throughout the rows, columns, and 3×3 grids without repeating any numbers or missing others. As with any game, the more you play, the easier it becomes to solve these puzzles as you learn a strategy and apply it. To beauty of the ability to play Sudoku online for free is that you don’t have to pay as you learn but, even better, to keep playing once you become addicted to the puzzle as so many do.
Without these free sites, people have easily spent $20-$30 and sometimes far more either buying printed puzzle books with the game or paying monthly memberships or hourly fees on gaming-and-gambling only sites. One Sudoku fan – the woman who turned me onto it – admitted dropping nearly $230 in just one month at an off-shore gambling site before the game began to appear in the U.S.
My favorite site to play Suduko online for free access is through MSNBC.com, the Microsoft/NBC news portal which already offers many free games through its Game Zone. But Sudoku on MSNBC isn’t grouped with those games, but with comics, as you often find it in newspapers and magazines. That’s where you’ll find it on the left-hand navigational menu when you visit MSNBC.com. Once in the Comics area, just click the link to Sudoku.
The reason I like MSNBC.com is that it gives you a different game every day. If you solve one day’s puzzle, you can always jump back from the drop down list box of previous days’ games to solve another. Plus the MSNBC.com versions have various difficulty levels, ranging from 1 star (easiest) to five (hardest). The easier the game, the more numbers are pre-filled-in for you, making it easier to solve the rest of the puzzle. Conversely, the harder the game, the fewer pre-fills you get, although you get other clues.
For example, as you fill in each row, column, or 3×3 grid so that you have all nine numbers represented in each, a green light appears at the right side, bottom or dead center in the 3×3 grid. However, this green light just signals you have used all your numbers and does not necessarily mean these numbers are in their correct position. Thus, you may still have work to do and there is a challenge in making certain that you cover all bases for those nine numbers for each unit.
But here’s another thing to like about the ability to play Sudoku on MSNBC.com for free: click Options at the bottom of the puzzle and you can click Hint to fill in one grid as a help toward solving the rest. You can also fill in the entire puzzle to see what the final result should look like.
Yet that is not all. You can keep your browser window open working on the puzzle as long as you like. Even if you go offline, you can keep working; just reconnect online before you try to use the Options feature or finish the puzzle or try to choose a different day’s puzzle. You can also print the puzzle and take a hard copy with you to work on off the computer, something I like to do when I’m in the car with someone else driving.
The beauty of puzzles like this and the freedom to play Sudoku free online is that such logic games can improve your thinking. At least one researcher has said he’s looking at how games like Sudoku can keep the mind active well into our golden years which some studies suggest may be the secret to avoiding elder diseases like Alzheimer’s.