Have You Played… Nurikabe?

Let's get logical

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

So this is Nurikabe. It’s a logic puzzle where you click grid squares to create islands of white in a continuous seas of black. Some of the squares have numbers in and those numbers tell you how many connected squares (including that one) make up an island.

It’s similar to Minesweeper but without that game’s punishing spurts of guesswork.

I find myself playing it when stressed or when watching a TV show I know well enough that I don’t need to concentrate fully while watching. It keeps my fingers busy and stops me from indulging insomniac worry spirals.

It feels like an odd one to recommend to a PC gaming audience somehow – like I’m saying “Have you played… the puzzle page of a newspaper?” But if you’re looking for something to scratch a Picross-shaped itch (JOHN, CAN YOU HEAR ME?) this – or one of the many other sites which house versions of the puzzle) could well worm its way into your bookmarks bar.


  1. Neutrino says:

    Please get rid of that atrocious Taboola recommendations affront.

    • riadsala says:

      Agree 100%.

    • Noburu says:

      Taboola can suck it. I have Adblock on and cant see it on my desktop, but mobile is a different story. Outbrain can die of cancer in a fire of urine and poo too!

    • Humppakummitus says:

      “Restore Your Vision To 20/20 With This Nifty Trick”. I bet I could get rid of glasses if I’d click that…
      Anyway, I keep wondering, wouldn’t RPS make more money if they displayed gaming related ads? Or do people really click this worst-of-Buzzfeed level material more?

    • Yserbius says:

      Just last week I grew tired of those “More from around the web” abominations and started putting in AdBlock filters for them.

      Step 1: Install AdBlock Plus.

      Step 2: Click “Filter Preferences->Custom Filters->Add Filter Group->Add Filter”

      Step 3: Copy ||taboola.com into the filter rule. Add ||zergnet.com and ||streamads.yahoo.com and ##body[class=yad-iframe] too for other offenders.

      Step 4: Contemplate why AdBlock doesn’t have blocks in place for Taboola.

      • jrodman says:

        I don’t get any taboola adverts.

        Perhaps that’s a virtue of running noscript in addition to adblock however?

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Yup. I don’t run AdBlock and do run NoScript. It blocks Taboola.

    • tehfish says:

      Have to agree.

      Even just considered amongst adverts of it’s type, it’s one of the worst by a large margin

  2. dangermouse76 says:

    Agreed it’s like having heat magazine at the bottom of every page.

    • tumbleworld says:

      I actually spent half a day teaching myself adblock element-targeting rules so that I could nobble the hideous, hideous new crap blighting the site. It’s almost back to its old self now, plus I’m now better-equipped to keep up with the fight against vile ads as a bonus.

      Honestly though, between the “redesign”, the supporter program, and the sudden deluge of eSports, it feels a lot as if RPS is being fattened up for a quick sell-off. I wouldn’t blame them, given how hideous games fans have become, but it’ll still be a sad day. Oh well. Make the most while it lasts, I guess.

      • dangermouse76 says:

        It’s the…….. 20 people with terrible faces / before and after type stuff. I would just like something better suited to my own tastes. As long as there are no pop ups and audio they can cover the whole site in advertising. I don’t care.

      • bhauck says:

        Can you please share what you’ve learned? I’ve spent hours trying to block JUST the Taboola/Outbrain-style ads, while leaving traditional banners and side bars, but I just can’t get it to work. I’ll block elements and they’ll disappear, but reloading the page brings them back.

        • dsch says:

          You just have to add a line saying “*.taboola.com*”.

          • itsbenderingtime says:

            Or better yet: ###recommendations-wrapper
            That should block the tabloid ads, whether they’re served by taboola, outbrain, or anybody else.

        • tehfish says:

          It’s also in the forums :)

          link to rockpapershotgun.com

          Manually add the linked url from that post into adblock and they’re (thankfully) gone.

  3. shutter says:

    Other than a really minor tweak to the number displayed in a square (how many white squares are in the cardinal directions rather than how many black are in the cardinal+diagonal directions), isn’t this literally Minesweeper?

    • kalzekdor says:

      Not really. It’s not about finding the black squares, per se, as certain puzzles will often have multiple solutions. You start with a grid of white squares and numbers. The goal is to fill in the black squares (or the Stream). The numbers indicate groups of white squares (or Islands).

      The following conditions must be met for a solution to be accepted (only orthogonal connections matter, diagonals are ignored):

      * Each number must be part of an island of exactly the given number of white squares (including the number).
      * All Islands must be separated by black squares (the Stream).
      * There can be no 2×2 or larger groups of black squares. (This is the trickiest thing in practice.)
      * All black squares must be connected into one contiguous group.

      It has a lot of the same elements as minesweeper, but it plays much differently.

      • DantronLesotho says:

        I was going to say… isn’t this like “reverse” minesweeper? But your explanation shows that it’s not. Thanks!

      • chiablo says:

        The description of the rules on the site are maddening. Thank you for providing a very concise, easy to understand explanation of how this should be played.

      • -funkstar- says:

        Annoyingly, the implementation linked to doesn’t seem to recognize that multiple solutions are sometimes possible, so you might end up having to guess, anyway.

  4. Heliocentric says:

    I choose to assume each level is a QR code to some hidden shard of the internet.

  5. rexx.sabotage says:

    Nurikabe is indeed really nice to relax and chill out to, thanks for the introduction. Although, I have found the hard-mode Light Up more meaty, especially for when I want a puzzle to actively sink my teeth into. Even the 7×7 puzzle had me scratching my noggin for almost half an hour.

    • Coops07 says:

      I can’t help it but just want to go to Minesweeper instead… O.O