24 March 2011

"Still more!", by J. Franklin Mentzer

I started playing Sokoban with Scott Lindhurst's program, Sokoban for the Macintosh (v. 1.0, April 1992), but I stopped playing at the end of 2001, just when Howard Abed left and GRIGoRusha published his first collection. I was completely disconnected between 2002-2006. In 2006 I returned to the hobby to Sokoban, thanks to the Bulgarian online web SokobanBG.

I will never be sufficiently grateful to Scott Lindhurst and its "Sokoban for the Macintosh" for the exciting hours I spent with this game...


Sokoban for the Macintosh, old version 2.0, 1996

In the early 90's, the Internet barely existed in Spain (I had no Internet access until 1994 ...), but the collections were spread very efficiently through the BBS. In those early years, until 2001, I gathered a considerable archive of puzzles.

Now I'm ordering my old file Sokoban, and I find many surprises. For example, I found the original collection of J. Franklin Mentzer, "Still more!".


About "Still more!", in MacSokoban 3.0, 1995

"Still more!" appeared in 1993, and was included - I think almost simultaneously - on MacSokoban, by Ingemar Ragnemalm (v. 1.0, February 1992) and "Sokoban for the Macintosh." However, there is a difference between the two collections: Scott Lindhurst "normalized" the maps (see above)
, so you lose the beautiful original drawing of many puzzles in the collection.

For example, here's the great puzzle #29 of "Still more!" on the original version, without "normalizing" (note that it is one more box! ...):



"Still more!" #29 (original map)

Later, "Still more!" was also included in KSokoban (v. 0.1.0, August 1998), by Anders Widell, to KDE platforms: they are the same maps as those of MacSokoban. 

The collection "Still more!" is excellent, and one of the largest collections of difficulty and loveliest of those years. I recommend it. You can download the original collection here:

- Still more! (1993, 35 levels, original collection)

About Frank Mentzer:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Mentzer

http://pen-paper.net/rpgdb.php?op=showcreator&creatorid=3088

  Frank Mentzer

03 March 2011

"Monster Sokoban", by Hirohiko Nakamiya



Monster Sokoban (2002) is one of the most beautiful and interesting collections that can be played online on the Internet. The author of "Monster Sokoban" is Hirohiko Nakamiya.

URL: http://miya.s16.xrea.com/selection/bannin/

In total there are 56 levels, divided into 8 stages of 7 levels each. There are also 7 additional levels that are played with limited steps.

Some of the levels come from other old collections by Nakamiya ("Nakamiya", "Practice levels" and "Joy levels"), but there are also some original levels.

Among the puzzles, there are truly wonderful, little gems of simplicity and extraordinary beauty. My favorites are these:

 Monster Sokoban  #3-3

Monster Sokoban  #5-3

 Monster Sokoban  #6-6

Monster Sokoban  #7-2


This #7-2 is a real gem!

I recommend this collection of Hirohiko Nakamiya, a great master of simplicity.

"SokoBig", by Howard Abed



I know two collections of SokoBig. Both were published by Howard Abed in his website during 2001. 

 
"Old" SokoBig - 80 levels (March 2001)
 
First, he has published a collection of 80 levels, on February or March 2001: is the collection "old" SokoBig. SokoBig-80 levels can still be downloaded from the Howard Abed website, on Internet Archive:

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20010424071935/http://www.geocities.com/sokoban2000/sokobig.txt

 
"New" SokoBig - 70 levels (November 2001)
 
By late 2001, shortly before the website of Howard Abed was closed, by November or December, he published a major remodeling of the collection, with only 70 levels. I've downloaded this collection of Howard Abed website, before it was closed. You can download this "new" SokoBig-70 levels here:

- "New" SokoBig - 70 levels

(Between these two series, there were other minor remodeling: e.g., I have downloaded also a SokoBig-82 levels, published shortly after SokoBig-80.)


Remodeled levels not included in SokoBig-70
 
In the section "Development levels" could be downloaded the level 69, which was not published in SokoBig-70 levels. I have two versions, 69b and 69c:

- SokoBig 69b
- SokoBig 69c 
(old URL: http://www.geocities.com/sokoban2000/devlev.txt)

In January 2002, I visited the Howard Abed website, but it was closed. Thanks to Google cached, I've downloaded 5 new remodels of levels 4, 11, 16, 27 and 31:

- SokoBig 4a, 11a, 16b, 27a and 31a
(old URL: http://www.geocities.com/sokoban2000/newsokobig.txt)


The table below provides the correspondences between the two collections SB-80 and SB-70:


Other levels

In the François Marques website can be downloaded 62e and 62z levels, as part of "old" SokoBig-80 levels:

- SokoBig 62e
- SokoBig 62z


Howard Abed has hosted his website on different servers. These are the URLs that I know:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/eabed
http://members.xoom.com/Howardabed/
http://sokoban.cjb.net
http://www.geocities.com/sokoban2000/index.html

The website of Howard closed in December 2001, and soon after Howard left the SokoBig project.

In September 2002, Evgeny Grigoriev reported it in Yahoo! Groups (September 10, 2002):

-----------------
Hello Eric

Howard has stopped development of levels,
Has removed the Web Site and email
:(
He informed me on it.
But it is possible he still will return in SokoBan.

I and my friend have solved All levels from set SokoBig

bye

> Where is Howard Abed website??? Who has the solutions of all the
very big sokoban puzzzled of Abed???
>
> Eric Tchong

-------------------

I'm an admirer of Howard Abed, who was a pioneer in many things. I do not know why he left Sokoban, but hopefully we can see his new works.