Wednesday, February 9, 2011

JI GA ZO ~ Puzzles of Fun! ~ A Product Review

Ji Ga Zo Puzzle Box

Ji Ga Zo is a fun new twist for puzzle lovers. Developed in Japan, where it's title means "self-portrait", it became so popular it was named 2010's toy of the year. Now you can buy it here, in America, from Hasbro Toys and many of your other favorite toy retailers.

The game comes with a board that is set up like a grid. It has numbers and letters. There are 4 sheets of shaded puzzle pieces, and a CD-Rom with the game software.

Ji Ga Zo Puzzle Contents
To play, you need to separate all the pieces and install the game software onto your computer. Then you will upload a picture to the Ji Ga Zo puzzle creator. Once you edit the photo the program will generate a map. It will show you a preview, and if you like it, you can print the key.

Using the same 300 shaded puzzle pieces, the game will be able to create an endless number of portraits. The trick to making a good puzzle is to get a good close up shot of a person's face without any background detail.

Now, to assemble the puzzle. The pieces are divided into four colors, and each one has symbol on it. The map key will show you where on the grid each piece should go.

Ji Ga Zo Puzzle Pieces

Now it's time to arrange things in the proper order. The blue car might go on space C, 7 - upside down, between the sideways pink bird and the right side up green smiley face .

Ji Ga Zo Puzzle Pattern

Each of the 300 pieces are the same size and shape, and they will interlock in any pattern. Your job is to find the proper place for each one. This was a great way to make it a family activity. We let the boys be in charge of two colors. Then we would call out what we needed. They would find it, and we would put it into the puzzle. On the side with the sepia tones the graphic is seen, very lightly, so it is possible to double check and make sure everything is done correctly.

Once your puzzle is completed, you can take it apart, load a new picture into the puzzle maker, and start all over again.

While you should not expect a perfect replica of your photo, they do come out pretty neat. Here's one of ours:
Ji Ga Zo Puzzle

Ji Ga Zo is recommended for ages 8 and up, but if done as a family, even littler ones can join in. The suggested retail price is $24.99, and it can be purchased from the Hasbro Web site.  Once again, Hasbro does a great job at providing fun family entertainment.

To Play, You will need a computer with Windows XP/Vista/7 or MAC X 10.4.11 . You will also need a CD-Rom drive that is 4X or faster, and a color printer. Your computer should have at least a 1.83 Ghz processor, and 512 mb of memory.

Become a fan of Hasbro Family Game Night on Facebook to keep up with what's new, and get special offers. Right now, fans can get a coupon for $4.00 off of Scrabble Flash. You can also follow Hasbro Family Game Night on Twitter.
**I was provided with a Ji Ga Zo game in order to evaluate it for this blogged review. I was not compensated for this, and my opinions are my own.