What is it ?
In 1987, Non Ishida, a Japanese graphics editor, won a competition in Tokyo by designing grid pictures using skyscraper lights which are turned on or off. At the same time and with no connection, a professional Japanese puzzler named Tetsuya Nishio invented the same puzzles.
Paint by numbers puzzles started appearing in Japanese puzzle magazines.
Nintendo picked up on this puzzle fad and in 1995 released two "Picross" (Picture Crossword) titles for the Game Boy and nine
for the Super Famicom (eight of which were released in two-month intervals for the Nintendo Power Super Famicom Cartridge Writer as the "NP Picross" series) in Japan.
Only one of these, Mario's Picross for the Game Boy, was released outside of Japan.
In 1988, Non Ishida published three picture grid puzzles in Japan under the name of "Window Art Puzzles".
In 1990, James Dalgety in the UK invented the name Nonograms after Non Ishida, and The Sunday Telegraph started publishing them on a weekly basis.
In 1993, First book of Nonograms was published by Non Ishida in Japan. The Sunday Telegraph published a dedicated puzzle book titled the "Book of Nonograms". Nonograms were also published in Sweden, United States, South Africa and other countries.
In 1995, paint by numbers started appearing on hand held electronic toys such as Game Boy and on other plastic puzzle toys. Increased popularity in Japan launched new publishers and by now there were several monthly magazines, some of which contained up to 100 puzzles.
In 1996, the Japanese arcade game Logic Pro was released by Deniam Corp, with a sequel released the following year.
In 1998, The Sunday Telegraph ran a competition to choose a new name for their puzzles. Griddlers was the winning name that readers chose.
In 1999, Paint by numbers were published by Sanoma Uitgevers in Holland, Puzzler Media (formerly British European Associated Publishers) in the UK and Nikui Rosh Puzzles in Israel.
Today, magazines with Picross puzzles are published in the USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Finland and many other countries.