“ The JigZone is the place on the internet for free online jigsaw puzzles „
I was never a puzzler as a child and young woman, although I did indulge on occasion as my parents often had some humongous 5,000 piece creation taking up the dining room table, and we would all chip in. My efforts were more on a piece here, a piece there as passing basis rather than hours of concerted effort, though we did spend a few happy hours as a family bickering and chatting over a puzzle.
I have started indulging in jigsaws more in recent years and have discovered online jigsaw sites. Jigzone is for me one of the best due to the large number of puzzles offered, and the ability to choose the cut and piece count of most of them. I find it very relaxing just to zen out and piece together a visual mystery. I don't pop on every day, but go through phases where I'll do several puzzles a day.
If you use this link http://www.jigzone.com/gallery it takes you straight to the well designed gallery. Where you are presented with a neat selection of thumbnail pictures representing various categories, there are ten at the moment, I won't name them all but some examples are: art, which is today represented by the Mona Lisa, Travel, Animals, Flowers and Gardens and my particular favourite Nature Scenes'. On the left you are offered the jigsaw picture gallery in list form with the categories further subdivided. There is also a drop down menu to chose puzzle cut and quantity of pieces, but you can also do this when you have already chosen the puzzle by selecting change cut.
The home page address is simply http://www.jigzone.com/ I usually skip this and use the gallery link as I know what I'm looking for. I find the home page a bit cluttered but just as easy to navigate. You can 'join' which is free and upload your own pictures to make into puzzles and share with others, I haven't used this option so can't say how easy it is to use. There is a 'puzzle of the day', and you can access the newest jigsaws from here. They also provide a code to embed a puzzle if you should so wish, you can also leave comments about puzzles, send one to a friend and compare solve times, and there are links to other games such as pool.
One thing that makes this site a little less sophisticated than some is that the pieces can all be fitted together by drag and drop, there is no option to flip or change orientation of the piece as you would do with a real jigsaw. Some sites do offer this method. To be honest I'm not such a jigsaw fanatic that I particularly care about that, and in fact I prefer the drag and drop.
You need Adobe Flashplayer, and or shockwave to run the puzzles. My little one gig or ram netbook at first struggled to run the application smoothly but now I've updated my version of adobe it runs very well, my elderly 2gig ram (with only 160 hardrive memory) laptop handles is perfectly well too, I think jigzone can also be used easily on Macs.
The puzzle comes up in a window on the same page taking up about two thirds of it, at the left is a selection of options, such as change cut, shuffle pieces, auto solve and start over. If you chose to start over to do the same jigsaw again I think that the pieces are well mixed and don't go back to the same place every time (so you can't cheat and learn - if your memory is that good- where each piece is). You simply click on a piece drag it into place and drop where you want it. There is a satisfying wooden sounding click as the pieces meld together. When the puzzle is finished the outlines of the individual pieces fade away and you are left with a smooth normal picture. Purists might not like this but I do, some of the jigsaws are gorgeous and I like the fade to a proper picture to enjoy the aesthetics of the subject.
I would like to be able to enlarge the puzzle window to fill the full screen as the picture can seem relatively small as there is 'working' space around it as the pieces fall into place, but haven't found a way to do that.
One thing that irritated me about the page on which the actual puzzle is displayed is that there are statistics displayed related to timings of completion, fastest time, average time and your time. There is an actual little digital timer ticking away which has turned what I've always treated as a relaxing lazy bit of dip in dip out fun into something else. Although this timer is just a bit of fun and you can choose to ignore it, I seem to have discovered an ugly competitive streak in myself, and my relaxing few minutes between bursts of work, or in the evening in front of the telly can degenerate into frenzied mouse clicking and repetitive attempts at the same damn puzzle to at least get well below the average completion time.
Doing online jigsaws doesn't half batter your mouse/trackpad and 'click' keys. If using a desk top pc a mouse should be able to cope with the repetitive actions with no problem. However on a laptop where I have had issues with the left and right select keys becoming less responsive and even sinking out of shape through normal everyday use this repetitive use of the keys is a bit too heavy duty. On my old laptop doing a few jigsaws a day once to 4 times a week definitely took its toll and is the direct reason I rarely use the right and left select keys now, and just tap my track pad. I'm a bit slow on the uptake sometimes and it took messing up that function to realise I didn't really need to use it (often).
I do feel that doing puzzles on line is a bit of a solitary activity and if you enjoy puzzles as a group activity this might be an issue, though technically you could sit in a group and take turns to point out and or move pieces. Personally these days that solitary nature is precisely what I like about this, it gives me time to myself where I can stop the whirling to do list in my head for a little while.
I use this site for online puzzling only and using it this way the piece count of the puzzles varies from an uber simple 8 piece, up to 247 pieces. The lower piece count being ideal for introducing children to online jigsaws. However they do have a shop which has a gorgeous selection of jigsaws on CD or the actual jigsaw, in their words they sell 'traditional and unusual jigsaw puzzles', including 'some of the biggest jigsaws in the world'. However the postage is astronomical (I took two puzzles to checkout much it was. There is only one option for international shipping and an $8 puzzle showed postage of $42 and a 5,000 piece puzzle showed $62.70, despite the pound sterling conversion being cheaper those prices would still be prohibitive for me. The puzzles themselves cost from a few dollars into the hundreds. One example is a huge 24,000 piece puzzle reduced from $350 to $279.
The youngest came downstairs recently to find me doing a puzzle with Midsommer Murders on the TV in the background. She stopped in her tracks went back upstairs, came back down and handed me a pair of slippers and a blanket and suggested that it was time for me to hang up the black eyeliner and hiking boots, and start thinking about settling down into my dotage as I appeared to have started along the path already. Pah, youngsters these days don't know what they're missing.
I have been a morning-afterwork-before bed relaxer with Jig Zone for over a year now. Over the last few months, I was troubled with PopUps, even with PopUp Blockers on, and not just when on the Jig Zone site.
Traced problem back to a program that was installed, a spyware according to two software programs downloaded to find the problem. Seems when I go to the Jig Zone site, a program called Istsvc.exe gets put into the OS, leaving me with sex, diet, drug related popups. I am fairly certain that this software originates from the JZ site, as I have deleted it twice now, using HijackThis.exe and one from Symantec, the makers of Systemworks. They both IDed it, deleted the Istsvc files and registers, and only when I went back to Jig Zone did the program reload into my OS.
Let the users beware!
It is a real trade off between the puzzles and having the virus type software!
Ever since I was a small child I have been fascinated with jigsaw puzzles and have amassed quite a collection over the years. However I have nowhere "safe" I can spend time constructing them as, lets face it, kids and tiny puzzle pieces dont usually make good bed-fellows! Around two years ago I discovered this website and I am now able to get my fix on a daily basis without having to worry about my darling children giving my latest creation flying lessons… ~ Home Page ~ The home page is very clearly laid out and relatively clutter-free. To the left is a very simple menu for you to make your selection from. Theres the puzzle of the day, the gallery or you can subscribe to the site. On the right is a selection of sample puzzles ranging from a simple six-piece classic cut to a complex 240-piece square cut. ~ The Puzzles ~ The picture gallery contains over 800 different pictures for you to make your selection from and these are divided into twelve distinct categories ranging from animals to world flags. Once you have browsed the different choices available then you get to choose your own particular level of difficulty from the drop-down menu above the picture selections. By default this is set to the 48-piece classic cut. The easiest puzzle cut is the six-piece classic and the hardest in my humble opinion is the 240-piece square cut as the pieces are so small! In between these two levels of difficulty are seven classic cut choices, triangular cuts, bulbs, circles, bricks and swirls. My personal choice is currently the 247-piece triangle cut as that gives my grey matter an excellent workout! Once youve worked out which picture you want to make and how many pieces you want to attempt, simply click on the picture you have chosen and the puzzle will load up in the same window. This takes mere seconds whatever your Internet connection happens to be, with my Cable Modem its around a te
n-second wait. When it has loaded you will be faced with a fair sized area covered in broken puzzle pieces! Constructing the puzzle couldnt be simpler. Just left-click with your mouse on the piece you want to move, then drag it and drop it (release the mouse button) where you think it should fit/where you want to move it to. When you get a "match" the pieces will connect together with a satisfying click sound. The site will time you while youre constructing your masterpiece and underneath the puzzle window is a small graph that shows your own personal time against the fastest ever completion time as well as the average. Should you instead opt to make the puzzle of the day it will of course load in exactly the same way as any of the other pictures only this time you wont get a choice of puzzle cut; Jigzone make that decision for you… ~ Join the Site ~ Registration to join Jigzone couldnt be simpler and the best thing is its FREE! Simply click the link on the home page and follow the basic instructions. You need to choose a user name as well as the obligatory password and e-mail address. A few more boxes later and thats it, you’re a member… So why join Jigzone? Well there are a couple of benefits if you happen to be a jigsaw puzzle freak like I am! First of all you get a link (from the homepage) to your very own member page and from this you can subscribe to the puzzle of the day feature. This is where you get to choose the format you would like your daily puzzle to be in; you can select your choice of puzzle cut as well as if you want to be able to see the finished picture or if you want no help at all! My own current choice is to receive the link to the puzzle of the day with a 247-piece triangle cut and WITHOUT the guide picture. As this is an American site the e-mail with the link tends to arrive in my hotmail box mid-afternoon due to the time difference. You can also upload your own pictures to your very own puzzle album, test them (watch them be broken up as 20-piece classic cut puzzles) and then you can e-mail them out to your friends in a choice of ALL the cuts that are available. Unfortunately, the only way you can try out your own pictures as puzzles in anything more complex than the 20-pieces is to e-mail yourself the link… You of course get the choice whether to keep your photo album private or to share it with all other Jigzone members. Jigzone also allow you to use the "link" to your own puzzles to be integrated into your own website. ~ Drawbacks ~ There are a couple of these I have found throughout my time using this site. The first is the dreaded Spam that comes in the form of pop-ups. Everytime you finish a puzzle and either go back to the home page or to do another puzzle, like magic a pop-up appears. Very annoying! Over the last few months another "glitch" has occasionally appeared. This hiccup shows itself by making the puzzle pieces vanish everytime you get them to click together. Now puzzles without the guide picture I can manage, but Im not so good as to be able to complete a task that is rapidly rendering itself invisible! ~ Overall Impression ~ Well if you havent already gathered, I am quite addicted to this site which is probably why I visit it each day, if only to complete my daily jigsaw. Its an excellent place for puzzlers of all ages and all abilities. My kids love it and it can be tailored to them as they grow and their individual talents increase. I love the fact that I can upload my own pictures and then complete them in whatever cut I choose; it makes the whole concept so much more personal. The satisfaction I get on a daily basis for completing the set challenge far outweigh the minor niggles I have outlined above. The best bits? No more lost puzzle pieces and no more puzzle
s launched into space by a giggling five year old…
Any Jigsaw puzzle fans out there are just going to be knee deep in puzzles of every kind at "jigzone.com" Yes, did you realise that you can in fact complete Jigsaws on-line,of all places? Well here you can do puzzles til your hearts content. I have just been doing a simple puzzle of two sweet little pigglets,I assume I did very well because the next picture the website gave Me was much harder.A picture of an American Footballer in mid air,catching a ball. This site has seven hundred puzzles to meet the needs of any addicts out there,they are all contained in the gallery. You can even select your required level of difficulty,from a simple six piece to a challenging two hundred and forty seven piece. After selecting your kind of puzzle,wait a few seconds for it to load. Then click on a puzzle piece,keeping the mouse button held down drag the piece to where you think it belongs,its as simply as that. Next to the puzzle itself,there is a shuffle button,handy if some pieces are hidden underneath others. There is a solve button if you just cant solve it and want to throw in the towel. There is also a timer ticking away to add more of a challenge to completing the puzzle. There is a list of all the categorys,these will bring up a selection of puzzles for you to choose from. An example being "Flags",from countries like Germany, Bulgaria,Holland and England to name but a few. Other categorys contained here are... Animals,like monkeys,dogs,elephants etc. Birds and lots of them. If you are into buildings,Landscapes or cities,you will find them here. Logos,cyber art,people and their lifestyles,travel and culture,sports, plants and food. There is sure to be something of interest for everyone even moir. What is extra good about this site is that its not only for adults but I am sure Children will find it just as appealing. If you become a member,each day you will recieve in your e-mail a new puzzle to complete. On top of that there will be a new "puzzle of the day" to solve on the site. You will be able to complete previously selected "puzzles of the day",by using the back catalogue. If you do decide to become a member this gives you added bonuses. Like you can upload photographs,make your own photos into puzzles,share your puzzles with friends and last but not least,integrate your puzzles into your own website. A technical help section is supplied should you experience any problems. Overall I think this is an excellant site,absolutely packed with allsorts of puzzles for the young and the old. The timer adds to the atmosphere,give yourself an extra challenge,to see if you can complete the same puzzle faster than you did it previously. The only problem I can see with this site is unlike real jigsaws,you cant leave them half finished and come back another day. A plus though is you wont lose the pieces,unlike at home. I used to be forever hoovering up jigsaw pieces. Its not nice to have to empty out the contents of the Hoover bag,have to wade through a pile of dirt and dust,just to retrieve the offending piece!! I know My puzzle mad Daughter will get endless enjoyment out of using this site. There shouldnt be too much frustration for Her as it does contain lots of puzzles suitable for children. Anyway must go now,theres lots of puzzles to wade through,bang goes My early night!!!