Back in the mid-’90s, I quietly gained a strong affinity for a Game Boy game called Mario’s Picross, which essentially was a series of logic puzzles that encouraged the player to put dots into the correct place to draw a picture, pixel by pixel, based on numbers listed on a grid.
This kind of game was one of many puzzle games of its kind back in the day, and it was actually much more rare in the U.S. than Japan. It’s not one of Mario’s best-known titles, but it was one of the few appearances of the nonogram, the puzzle type picross is better known as, outside of Japan.
Named for Non Ishida
, a graphics editor who is one of the two people credited with creating the puzzle style, it started out as a paper-based phenomenon in the late 1980s before quickly going electronic, basically as if Tetris and pentominoes had been developed in the same decade. From there, it became a cult style of game—never as popular as, say, sudoku, but definitely appealing to that same type of player. Mario’s Picross
, which has somewhat recently appeared on the Switch, has a bit of a cult following these days
, being a poor seller on its initial release. The developer of the game, Jupiter, has found more success with Picross-style games on other platforms, though I haven’t really played a portable Nintendo console in quite a while.