Who Will You Ji Ga Zo?Monday, February 21, 2011
Family day is the perfect day to bring out the old board games and puzzles. What better way to spend time together as a family, right? Me, personally... I love puzzles! I have been crazy for puzzles all my life, for as long as I can remember anyway. But I would often seek out puzzles that had a twist. For instance, I have a mini collection of 3D puzzles, one of which is a large replica of the Château Frontenac, and I also have a heavy 3D sculpture puzzle my mother lugged home for Christmas one year. My sister tried to stump me a couple of times with really difficult puzzles such as the 3D pyramid which required using hieroglyphics to solve it, or the double-sided puzzle where the shape of every piece is identical. What can I say? I love a good puzzling challenge! Enter Ji Ga Zo.
Last year, Ji Ga Zo was named Japan's "2010 Innovative Toy of the Year" and this year, Hasbro is introducing Ji Ga Zo to puzzle fanatics in Canada and the U.S. The name derives from the Japanese language and means "self portrait." It is the first puzzle ever that can be personalized with endless possibilities. You can now take any digital picture of anyone you know and turn it into a 300-piece puzzle. And you can do it over and over again!
Each puzzle comes with 300 Ji Ga Zo puzzle pieces, a multi-lingual CD-ROM with software and instructions, an assembly grid, and printed instructions. My Ji Ga Zo also came with a $5.00 coupon good towards any in-store purchase of a Ji Ga Zo (expires May 31, 2011 and valid in Canada). Before you start, you need to remove the pieces from the four boards by peeling away the backer board and punching the pieces out. This was fun and easy for my 5-year-old to do. Each of the four boards contains puzzle pieces with different Sepia-coloured gradations on one side and a unique code on the back in either green, blue, pink or orange. So it's best to group these pieces according their coloured backing.
The next step involves installing the software onto your computer. It is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/ 7 as well as Mac OS X 10.4.11 and Linux. I used my iMac and the installation was quick and super easy. Once installed, upload a photo by clicking on the "New Ji Ga Zo" button to upload from your computer's photo gallery or the Ji Ga Zo gallery. (The CD-ROM includes extra icon maps for Mona Lisa and 4 other images.) Once the picture is uploaded, you need to edit it. It is recommended that you crop the image and get a good closeup of the person's face in a high-resolution image. This will help give more detail to your final puzzle. If you're happy with the preview, you can save it your gallery and print the unique icon map (colour printer required). I chose a closeup of my son from this picture taken two years ago. You will notice that a little thumbnail is printed along with the map. You can choose to omit the thumbnail if you are giving this as a gift and want to add an element of suspense.
Next, it's time for the real fun to begin. The icon map dictates where you will place each of the 300 pieces on the assembly grid and you will need to use your coordinate skills to make sure they are in the right place. Flip the piece over and you will notice a shiny icon printed on the top that matches the coloured icon on the bottom. Be sure that, once flipped, it is oriented in the same direction as designated on the map. At first, it may seem a bit tedious but once you start connecting pieces together it gets easier and you will be amazed to see the picture come together.
|Step 5-10 feet away to admire the final puzzle.|
Here is a really cool time lapse video that better illustrates the versatility of the Ji Ga Zo, which I found on the Ji Ga Zo YouTube channel.
Ji Ga Zo is available at Real Atlantic Superstore, Real Canadian Superstore, Toys R Us, Walmart and Zellers. The approximate retail value is $24.99. Availability and pricing may vary by retailer.
Contest #1: Toronto Teacher Mom Blog
For your first entry, which is mandatory, read my post on the Hasbro Holiday Preview event or visit Hasbro.ca and tell me another puzzle, game or toy that caught your interest. Leave a comment on this post with the name of your favourite Hasbro product.
For additional entries, you may choose to do any or all of the following. Please be sure to leave a comment stating what you have done.
- Add my blog button to your website for one entry. If it's located on your sidebar, add a second entry. Copy code is located to the right.
- Become a follower of Toronto Teacher Mom using Google Friend Connect.
- Subscribe to this blog by email or in a reader.
Contest #2: Facebook
- Like the Toronto Teacher Mom Facebook fan page and leave a comment on the giveaway post on the wall telling me who you would Ji Ga Zo.
- Share the giveaway with your Facebook friends for an additional entry and leave a second comment on the wall post.
- Become a follower of Toronto Teacher Mom on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Tweet once daily using the hashtag #whowillyouJiGaZo. Feel free to use the following tweet:
Win one of three Ji Ga Zo puzzles from Hasbro Canada! #whowillyouJiGaZo @TeacherMomOfTwo Details here: http://ht.ly/40jtv
Contest ends February 28 at 10pm EST. Open to Canadian residents only. Winners will be selected at random and must reply to the notification email or direct message within 3 days or a new winner will be drawn. Please note that you are permitted to enter all three contests but you may win only once.
Disclosure: I received a Ji Ga Zo puzzle from Hasbro Canada for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any other way. The thoughts and views expressed in this review are strictly my own honest opinions.