When I think of the name Hasbro, instantly my mind goes to all of the fun toys and games that my kids have... as well as those from my own childhood. They are the creator of so many brands that span all ages and abilities that it's hard to imagine a playroom or game night without them.
Until recently, however, I hadn't realized that Hasbro is also the world's largest puzzle manufacturer, a category that has also been a big part of my and my children's lives. There is just something great about fitting pieces into one another and seeing the image begin to come together right before your eyes!
But Hasbro has now taken things even one step further by revolutionizing the puzzle industry with the introduction of Ji Ga Zo, a product that allows you to customize the picture used in a puzzle not once, but time and time again.
A personalized puzzle? And not just personalized, but changeable? I was skeptical at first, but soon found out that Ji Ga Zo truly is the next generation in puzzles.
Big Sister E and I started by removing the individual pieces from their boards and laying them in piles depending on their colored backing.
Heading to the computer, I popped in the included CD-Rom software only to find that I kept getting an error message when trying to install it. Thankfully, Hasbro includes a clear troubleshooting section in the instructions that solved my problem in one easy step!
Browsing through our photos, Big Sister E fervently voted for one of herself as a baby (she's been very into talking about that lately), so we decided on one that is a favorite for both of us.
After easily uploading the photo, the clear buttons for editing (zoom, crop and contrast) made it easy to get the image prepared to be turned into the necessary map. I soon had it cut in right on Big Sister E's cute face (instructions mention to have a face nearly filling the space) and we clicked "Create Ji Ga Zo" to have our custom puzzle map made.
When you're satisfied with your creation, you simply print off the map and head over to start putting the pieces together... or, in our case, I just moved the computer next to the assembly grid and we were ready to begin.
As Ji Ga Zo is recommended for ages 8 and up, I soon realized that each of the 300 tiny pieces were going to be a little difficult for Big Sister E to put together - particularly because each one has to be positioned in the direction of the transparent image on it. However, we worked out a great system where I would show her on the screen which picture we were looking for next and she would search through the piles for it. She's a pretty darn good sleuth!
It was fun finding the colorful piece that belonged next in the map and then turning it over to see the shades of white, gray and black on the back that made up the final picture. It really didn't take all that long before our original photo appeared, Ji Ga Zo-style.
What an innovative and fun idea! I love that you can head back to the software and upload as many pictures as you like in order to have a different result every time you put the puzzle together. The possibilities are pretty much endless and those same 300 pieces can make up people, animals, locations - nearly anything!
As well as owning Ji Ga Zo and having the ability to reshuffle the pieces into a new puzzle whenever you prefer, I think this would also make a really fun gift idea. You can have a photo already uploaded and then hide the thumbnail image and print out the map. That way your recipient won't know what the final result is going to be until they put it together!
For a custom creation and personal touch to a classic family or individual activity, Hasbro's Ji Ga Zo is a great way to add a unique twist to puzzles that everyone can enjoy. Retailing for around $24.99, you can find purchase Ji Ga Zo online directly from Hasbro or Amazon or look for it in retail stores near you. Don't forget to check out Ji Ga Zo on YouTube for even more fun and Family Game Night on Facebook for more great Hasbro entertainment and information.
(Other than the Ji Ga Zo I received from Hasbro in order to facilitate my review, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this product and the fun we have had with it.)