Sunday, January 15, 2006


In his "The Pop of King" January 20th editorial in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King writes "Is Sudoku the stupidest game to ever appear in newspapers, or what?" I like Stephen King a lot- almost embarassingly so. He's considered a pop writer, but he really has some genuine literary chops. King is dead wrong on this one though.

Sudoku is a fun and quite intelligent game. The trap Mr. King seems to have fallen into is that it looks deceptively easy. It is quite a challenge at times, providing hours of deep thought.

What's interesting about Sudoku is that it reveals the way people think. For example I like to stay in the boxes and solve the puzzle box to box. My friend R-dogg looks more at the lines and only uses the boxes when he needs to. A-list tends to view the whole puzzle and fills in the boxes erratically, with no pattern I can think of. Such is the way we think.

Steve, you need to give Sudoku a second glance. I often use it to bring my brain out of a haze. It sometimes works better than coffee. And I sure love my coffee.


Mattyd said...

I'm with you on King. I think he has some terrific literary chops. I'm purposely reading his Dark Tower series slowly just so it won't end. And I'm re-reading some of his other novels and finding their Dark Tower connections. He really is a talented writer and I'm sure that he will be better appreciated someday. Have you read his non-fiction book On Writing? It's a superior book on the art of writing.

As for Sudoku, my fiancee loves it but I'm with King. Stupid game. Of course, I think crossword puzzles are stupid too. I understand that these types of activities exercise your brain, but there is no end product when the exercise is complete. I'd prefer to do something that stimulates your mind and results in a finished product of some value.

What is King's complaint? Why doesn't he like it?

KristinW said...

I respect Stephen King greatly as a writer, so I'm surprised by his comments. What is his motivation? Does he want to see the American public dumbed down even more? In a world of first-person shooter video games, why pick on sudoku?


Mattyd said...

I hardly think that not liking a particular number puzzle and stating an opinion as such constitutes wanting to dumb down America.

Disparaging first-person shooter games is certainly easy to do, and as a teacher I think that many of them contain too much violence. But they also promote higher order thinking, promblem solving, rapid cognition, and cooperative, team building skills. And there are certainly games out there that are less violent and nonviolent, but they don't make the news.

It's not all black and white.

Brett said...

What do you mean by "finished product?" Does any game really provide a finished product other than intrinsic satisfaction?

Mattyd said...

Good question.

I guess the activities that I engage in tend to lead to a finished product. I write. I'm working on a novel, so when I'm done, I have soemthing to show for my time.

By the way, I'm looking for an agent. Anyone?

I play poker, online and with buddies. Very mentally stimulating (lots of math too!), and in the end, I usually have some profit to show for it.

I read. When I finish a book, I have a great deal of material to reference, remember, reflect upon, and discuss with friends and colleagues.

Make sense?