[[quoteright:230:[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaDawnOfSorrow http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/imagesCA7V02FV_8715.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:230:Aw, crap.]]

The "fifteen puzzle" or "slide puzzle" is a sort of StockPuzzle where one has to arrange a set of scrambled numbers so that they are all shown in ascending order. One spot is always open, allowing pieces to be moved around, but it is designed in such a way that no piece can ever be removed from the board. There are larger versions with more than than fifteen squares; these are called "''n''-puzzles", where ''n'' is the number of scrambled numbers (always a square number minus one).

A more general version of the "sliding puzzle" will have the player try to put together an image in the same manner as above. The picture you're trying to reassemble is usually printed on the back of the box to minimize frustration.

The puzzle traces back at least to Noyes Palmer Chapman in 1874; later on, Sam Loyd claimed to have invented it. One guy sold a lot of them by offering a huge prize each week in a newspaper advertisement for the product, for those who solved a certain puzzle, not telling anyone that the way the numbers were inserted it was physically impossible to get the combination that would solve the puzzle, and thus nobody ever won the huge prize he offered.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The titular ''Anime/LupinIII'' is able to solve them easily, as part of his safecracking abilities.
** An ''n''-square puzzle hides the Suminawa family safe in ''Anime/TheFumaConspiracy''. Lupin's remote control bug has to move cupboards around to the correct layout in order to see the safe.
** A 15-block puzzle (incorporated into the wall) is part of the security that Lupin must get past to retrieve one of the statues in ''Anime/LupinIIIThePursuitOfHarimaosTreasure''.

* ''Literature/TheCaliforniaVoodooGame'' throws out one of these in a timed situation. The trick is that it's a word-version and there are two R's: "RATE, YOUR, MIND, PAL". Put them in the wrong place and the puzzle is uncrackable.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* At least [[OncePerEpisode once per series]] in ''Series/TheCrystalMaze''.
* ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' featured a large scale sliding puzzle as part of the floor in the apartment of inventor. It is already solved and turns out to be [[spoiler:part of a DeathTrap]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Showed up as a hidden MiniGame in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' and all of its remakes. Accessing the puzzle required you to GetOnTheBoat and hold down one button while mashing another. Completing the puzzle gave your party extra money, but just how much depended on which version of the game you played.
* Also a mini-game in ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsBartVsTheWorld'', where pictures of the Simpsons cast were shown, and you would have to slide the puzzle around to make it look normal.
* ''VideoGame/BeyondTheBeyond'' had a smaller sliding puzzle, which one had to complete to gain access to a church early in the game.
* Such a puzzle also appears in the LethalLavaLand course of ''VideoGame/SuperMario64''. It solves and scrambles itself, though. Whenever it reaches the solution, coins pop out of all the panels. The puzzle is the only thing standing between Mario and hot molten lava, so the moving vacancy acts as a mobile hazard.
* Some level 3 clues in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' require the player to solve a 5x5 sliding puzzle to advance the quest.
** A quest which has one of those is Monkey Madness. For extra difficulty, two of its pieces are nearly identical to each other. People were getting so desperate, they paid vast sums of ingame money to an NPC to not have to solve it! [[spoiler:A Void Dance]] also has a 3x3 version.
** There's also the infamous puzzle in Elemental Workshop III. A three-dimensional, multi-story sliding tile puzzle, which you have to work multiple times to complete, with an irritating interface, a limited amount of moves, and no way to fix even the smallest mistake.
* Appears in a library in a minigame in ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}} II''. Particularly annoying as it's timed, but at least it's not required to advance the plot.
* In ''VideoGame/TheNeverhood'', the door to the Hall of Records opens only when you solve an 8-puzzle which depicts the letter 'H'.
* ''VideoGame/AnotherCode'' (known in the United States as ''Trace Memory'') had such a sliding puzzle. Each time the puzzle was activated, the pieces would be ordered differently: Meaning that some combinations were trivial, and some were face-meltingly tough. Perhaps the only sticking point in the game if one is going for a new time record.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** Appears as a minigame in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', where the result is the image of a character (there are sixteen images in total). However, Link is explicitly told by the sponsor (the Butler of the Private Oasis) that solving it gives no reward beyond money, and since money is much more easily obtained thanks to Treasure Charts, the mini-game serves little purpose aside from distraction should you like this kind of puzzle.
** In the final dungeon of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', there's a variation. In several places, there are consoles with these puzzles, but each piece corresponds to a specific room, and you have to move them into varying positions to be able to traverse the dungeon.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' has a 3×3 version during Ashley's playable segment. Once the picture is oriented properly, you have to use a key item to fill in the empty spaces to open the door.
* ''VideoGame/{{Machinarium}}'' has a 3x3 variant in which you must assemble an unbroken line from start to finish. This is also made slightly easier than most, both with markings to tell you where to put two particular pieces, and that another actually falling out gives you more space to work with. The missing piece gets eaten by a robot bird, though, and that's another task entirely to get it back.
* ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheCuriousVillage'' has a version of this puzzle with an interesting twist: [[spoiler:Two pieces whose positions cannot be swapped are identical]].
* The PC game ''VideoGame/SecretsOfDaVinciTheForbiddenManuscript'' has one of these; after you've sketched a copy of the ''Mona Lisa'', you have to slide the different parts of the drawing around until they are in the correct placement. In terms of the story, this is the most illogical puzzle in the entire game, as there is no plausible reason why you would have drawn it that way in the first place. (It's also one of the most difficult puzzles in the entire game, and many players have taken advantage of a glitch which forces the game to solve it for you.)
* Found in ''VideoGame/BarkleyShutUpAndJamGaiden'' for a very cheap reward.
* ''VideoGame/CarmenSandiegoTreasuresOfKnowledge'' has a 3x3 picture variation used on a locked door that has an artifact Carmen has stolen hidden behind it.
* ''VideoGame/ReturnToZork'' has a puzzle that's close (a 3×4 "12" puzzle with the same basic mechanics). Trivially, solving it causes important items to suddenly appear where the puzzle was found. GuideDangIt ensues when trying to figure out where each tile goes (it uses words as opposed to, say, numbers or a picture).
* The game for ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' completely overloaded on these.
* There's one in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaDawnOfSorrow'', but you don't really have to "solve" it; instead, each piece represents a room in a 16-square area, and arranging the pieces into a path allows you to traverse it. Each room can only be reached in one to three directions depending on the piece. Indeed, if you solve it "correctly", there will be four rooms you can't access; deliberately missolving the puzzle so that you can access those four rooms will net you some items.
* ''VideoGame/HeroinesQuest'' has one similar to the Castlevania example above. In Svartelfheim a cavern complex is dictated by the layout of a boardgame in a residential inventor's home.
* ''Franchise/SilentHill'' adores these things. ''VideoGame/SilentHillHomecoming'' has a fiendishly difficult one with ''irregularly sized'' blocks.
* This is the premise of the minigame "Puzzle", which shipped with early versions of UsefulNotes/AppleMacintosh from the original to System 7. Later revisions of Mac OS replaced "Puzzle" with a jigsaw puzzle.
-->'''Puzzle:''' ''[upon completion]'' Ta-da!
* Both ''VideoGame/TheSeventhGuest'' and ''The 11th Hour'' include this type of puzzle as rearranging the surface of a mirror to its previous state. However, since the missing tile is always randomized, it's possible for this puzzle to be set up in a way that leaves it unsolvable, forcing you to refresh it.
* One of the puzzles in ''VideoGame/AmberJourneysBeyond'' is this, here in the case of assembling a telegram that one of the ghosts tore up [[spoiler:in shock of realizing her husband had died before returning from [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the war.]] ]]
* ''[[VideoGame/DrBrain Castle of Doctor Brain]]'' has one of these in the Maths hallway early in the game. Depending on the difficulty it will be 3×3 or 4×4 with numbers or 5×5 with an image.
* ''VideoGame/{{Safecracker}}'':
** There is a variation which has no open space, but instead allows sets of four adjacent pieces to be rotated around their point of intersection. Also, the picture you need to reconstruct is shown only [[spoiler:on the game's menu page]].
** There's a safe which plays this straight. The strategy guide even gives you a cheat to have the game solve it for you. [[spoiler:(Hold 'Alt' key whilst clicking the handle)]].
* Sierra's ''VideoGame/LighthouseTheDarkBeing'' included a puzzle that plays this straight inside a cube with a puzzle inside each face. Dr. Jeremiah Krick managed to solve the first two puzzles before being unable to solve this. But the game is kind enough to give you a "Solve It?" button by backing out and zooming in 4 times.
* ''VideoGame/SystemShock'' has an optional minigame that you can get as part of the "Trioptimum Fun Pack Entertainment Module", with pictures of Edward Diego, Abe Ghiron, and SHODAN that you must reassemble. It's not that hard, though, since you get to see the pieces scramble fairly slowly, allowing you to just do the process backwards.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Ripper}}'', two cyberspace locations - the WebRunners' Archive and Falcon Eddie's personal well - are protected by these puzzles. [[spoiler:However, the game has cheat codes for all the puzzles in cyberspace.]] A woman who gives you the former well's address unintentionally [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this.
--> '''Woman:''' You're on your own with the ICE, though. It's a bitch.
* Certain Metalize tablets in ''VideoGame/AvalonCode'' reveal sliding puzzles that must be solved before you get the recipe.
* Forced upon you early on in ''VideoGame/FinalFightStreetwise'' in order to progress and get some clues or something, then playable afterwards whenever you go back to the building and feel like playing it.
* The UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis version of ''VideoGame/{{Action 52}}'' has this.
* In ''VideoGame/WarioWare D.I.Y.'', [[spoiler:Orbulon]]'s boss stage is a 3x3 variant of this.
* In the second game of ''VideoGame/{{Drakensang}}'' there's such a puzzle in the depths of the old Efferdian Temple on the Forgotten Island. You have to move the blocks in order to form the picture of a water nymph, but all the tiles are numbered. [[spoiler:You also need the sixteenth tile from the Water Dragon's lair to complete the puzzle and reach the innermost chamber.]]
* The strange cube item in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' is a sliding puzzle with a twist. If you solve it the normal and obvious way you get a minor reward but if you solve it in another way hinted at nowhere in the game you get a better reward.
* ''VideoGame/FreddiFish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse'' has one of these on the ceiling above a statue, with three difficulty settings: one normal puzzle, one with a rectangular piece, and one with two rectangular pieces. Solving it is completely optional--the only requirement is to get the empty square directly above the trident the statue is holding, which you will then be able to remove.
* With the recent trend to mix {{Hidden Object Game}}s with puzzle-solving, and the FifteenPuzzle being a very obvious go-to puzzle, many casual games today feature this type of puzzle at least once per playthrough. The lower-quality games may be {{Unwinnable}} if the RandomNumberGod is not suitably appeased beforehand.
* The flash game ''VideoGame/{{Continuity}}'' is pretty much exactly this puzzle combined with a PlatformGame (ie. you can change the level by moving screens about in the style of sliding blocks).
* The indie game ''VideoGame/{{Cogs}}'' is this TurnedUpToEleven.
* ''VideoGame/ViajeAlCentroDeLaTierra'' begins with a puzzle of this type, fitting eleven pieces of a TreasureMap into their proper positions.
* The picture variant pops up in the SNES Thomas the Tank Engine game.
* Most levels in ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'' have one of these tucked away somewhere. Solving it yields some minor bonus, like a handful of some resource or temporarily freezing an enemy who normally attacks every few minutes, and it serves as a way to kill a few minutes while waiting for something else to get ready.
* One shows up in ''VideoGame/TheNightOfTheRabbit'', though the player can't make Jeremy do any specific moves (clicking on the puzzle just has him cycle through positions, and the player can't even see the puzzle clearly). To solve the puzzle [[spoiler:[[CuttingTheKnot Jeremy must cast a spell on it, blowing it up.]]]]
* The interactive fiction title ''Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina'' slaps one of these on a door lock.
* ''Megapanel'' mixes this with the rising block stack-type MatchThreeGame genre. By clearing the panels you limit how much you can move the others around, which forces you to rise the playing field.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* They were included in Windows OS Vista and 7 as desktop gadgets.
* Sam Loyd, who claimed (probably falsely) to have invented the puzzle in the 19th century, offered a $1,000 reward. The puzzle conserves parity and cannot be solved if the numbers 14 and 15 are swapped, which was the configuration he provided it in. Rumor has it that Loyd couldn't patent the puzzle because it was unsolvable, though "because he didn't invent it" is another plausible reason. ''TabletopGame/PerplexCity'' has a card based on Loyd's version of the puzzle.