Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Parking Lot Puzzle

Ever had the experience of trying to retrieve your auto from one of those big city parking lots where every square inch of ground is used to cram in as many cars as physically possible. It is a great way to generate the most revenue but comes with a certain problem.   What if you car is the furthest from the exit gate ?  Imagine how much shifting of vehicles needs to take place to extricate your car when you want it.   There is a great puzzle called Rush Hour Traffic Jam which mimics this problem of switching around vehicles in a small confined space.
Rush Hour is almost as iconic as the Rubik's Cube Puzzle.   It far exceeds the rubik's in terms of play value.  The manufacturer Think Fun has created dozens of puzzles challenges which are grouped into four levels of difficulty.   The puzzle is intergenerational meaning a  PHD engineer at MIT will enjoy as much as a  7  year old.   

To begin extricating your shiny red card choose a "beginner" challenge card and arrange the other vehicles on the grid according to the placement designated.   You will not use every vehicle with a given challenge card.  The simple restrictions are that you cannot lift any vehicle from the playing surface once placed in position and you must move vehicles forward/backwards or up/down according to the grid pattern.    Remember it is exactly the same as getting your real auto out of one of those big city parking lots.
This is an extremely tactile puzzle.   A given puzzle challenge may possibly be accomplished in say as few as 35 moves.  It is okay if it takes you 60, 80 or 100 moves as long as you can eventually drive your red car out the gate.       
Puzzles like this are great because they stimulate forward thinking.  How should I go about removing my car?   What are the possibilities ?   How can I go about moving the other blocking vehicles ?   Although Rush Hour Traffic Jam is at least 8 years old, we are amazed at how many people still have never heard of this hands-on Brain Teaser.    Teachers, Camp Counselors, After School Programs, YMCA's, Boys and Girls Clubs will find this an exceptional puzzle to have in their game closet.

No comments:

Post a Comment