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<img src="/web/20051211061652im_/http://www.gamespot.com/features/vgs/universal/puzzle_hs/title.jpg" width="456" height="152" border="0">
By Skyler Miller
Design By Lam Huynh

Pre-Tetris (1976-1987)
Tetris (1988)
Post-Tetris (1989-1995)
Beyond Tetris (1996-Present)
The Ten Best Puzzle Games
Table of Contents
Puzzles, brainteasers, crossword puzzles, and games like dominoes, chess, and Chinese checkers have fascinated humans for centuries, so it's no surprise that puzzle video games have become one of the most beloved genres of electronic entertainment.

But when video games first became popular in the late 1970s, there was no such thing as a puzzle game. Although there were some innovative titles like Q*Bert's Qubes and Atari Video Cube, the genre began (and in some ways, ended) with Tetris. It was the originator, the game by which all future puzzlers have been measured.

So, what exactly is a puzzle video game? There is no strict definition, but rather a set of loose characteristics and boundaries. Games of this genre usually involve shapes, colors, or symbols that must be arranged or organized to form a specific pattern. Sometimes these objects are fixed, and sometimes they fall from the sky. In some cases, you don't control objects or characters directly but instead affect the surrounding environment. Some puzzle games rely on quick reflexes, while others reward contemplation. What they all have in common is their emphasis on strategy and thought rather than random action.

Every effort has been made to document the most popular, innovative, and notable puzzle games, and the ten best have been chosen based on originality, addictiveness, and plain old fun.

Of course, not every puzzle game ever made is listed here, but it is my hope that this history will serve as an introduction for those not familiar with the genre and as a walk down memory lane for seasoned players. If you're lucky, you might even learn something.

Next: Now show me Pre-Tetris>