Tetsuya Miyamoto has done the impossible: He has made math addictive. Miyamoto believes in "The Art of Teaching Without Teaching" and created KenKen, ("wisdom squared" in Japanese), to fool children into solving unnecessary math problems. KenKen raises math abilities: Miyamoto's students enter Japan's top middle schools and dominate national math competitions. The rules are simple. As stated on kenken.com:
- For a 3x3 puzzle, fill in with numbers 1-3.
- Do not repeat a number in any row or column.
- The numbers in each heavily outlined set of squares, called cages, must combine (in any order) to produce the target number in the top corner of the cage using the mathematical operation indicated.
- Cages with just one box should be filled in with the target number in the top corner.
- A number can be repeated within a cage as long as it is not in the same row or column.
While KenKen looks like Sudoku, you have to solve math problems within the cages, on top of using a process of elimination, as in Sudoku.
Due to its popularity, KenKen can be played on many platforms. It is published as puzzle books and online via the NY Times Crossword & Games section. Capcom offers KENKEN: Train Your Brain for iDevices, and Nintendo has plans for a DS version. I am shocked that I am doing math for fun. Whenever I have pockets of free time, I play Kenken on my iPad.