Mar 14, 2011

Ji Ga Zo, from Hasbro review

Ji Ga Zo, a revolutionary new product, which allows you to use photos to create personalized puzzles. In fact, you can use the same 300 pieces in the puzzle to make virtually any image – a child, spouse, friend, pet or celebrity! Each game comes with CD-Rom software to convert any image into a puzzle map of symbols and colors. The map is then used to transform the sepia-colored pieces into your image.
When you open Ji Ga Zo this is what you will find, a TON of small 2 sided pieces, the software and a map or grid to work on.  I really couldn't wrap my mind around this concept until I had the pieces in my hand.  The pieces are small and they are all exactly the same shape and are able to be turned in any directions.  The sepia side gives you the results to see your personalized puzzle image.  But when you load the software you can either use a pre-created image map for Mona Lisa, a collie dog, a kitten, a panda bear and MR MONOPOLY or you can take the time to create your own personalized map.  I found that it was a little tricky to create my personalized map.  It takes a good close up photo and the realization that you aren't going to be able to create fine details.  My 7 year old watched as I worked through the process and kept telling me, 'it's still blurry."  I guess I'm raising a bit of a photo critic!  Once you have your map, it should all start to make a little more sense as you see the different colored pieces with all different symbols on them turned all different ways.

Once we created a personalized map we were happy with we began sorting the pieces a bit.  Tip, you may want to be smarter than I was and sort them by color as you pop them out.  As we began slowly working on the puzzle we realized 2 things.  We need a spot where we can work on it and leave it when our eyes begin crossing and need a break.  Unlike a regular puzzle were you use all the pieces and you can just keep randomly trying different pieces, this is much more about following a very precise map and involved using the grid to keep track of what pieces need to go where. And also, the age suggestion is a good one, my seven year old IS capable of working on this puzzle...but he is also capable of crying when his little brother accidentally messes it up.  We didn't get very far before everyone was frustrated.  So we put it up for a day when my 3 year old was either sleeping or not home.  This is a very unique puzzle concept and would be great for any puzzle lover.  However, I wish that the 'map' provided was more of a board with a inset for the pieces as the slippery surface allowed the pieces to slip around too easily in our very active household.  I'm sure this will be a hit when we're able to do it without the littler one around and is great because it can be something new every single time so it's life is endless.  You could even use it for themed parties, creating a new puzzle for every holiday or celebration.


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