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Stock Puzzle

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You've seen it a million times, in puzzle books, video games, or even children's toys, and you've probably solved it a million times. You may have even made one if you've taken a computer programming course. It's the humble Stock Puzzle, a boon to anybody who can't be bothered to come up with an original puzzle. At least one of these puzzles always seem to pop up in situations where Only Smart People May Pass.

In adventure games, these are nearly always a Set Piece Puzzle. The reverse is not true: A Set Piece Puzzle can be original, and in order for a game to be enjoyable at all, it had better have some original puzzles.

These sometimes pop up in other media besides video games, usually in programs that are partly or wholly edutainment. You have to wonder whether it's Genre Blindness that keeps people from knowing the solutions to these puzzles in advance.

A Stock Video Game Puzzle is necessarily a video game puzzle; a stock puzzle can be reasonably implemented with pen-and-paper or a physical toy, and will often date back at least several decades or even centuries.


  • Block Puzzle: Puzzles solved by arranging blocks to interact with the environment or each other.
    • Klotski: In a sliding 4×5 board, the goal is getting a 2×2 block to the bottom.
  • Enter Solution Here: Find answer in place A, enter it in place B.
  • Game of Nim: Removing matchsticks arranged in heaps in turns. The goal is to avoid taking the last.
  • Grid Puzzle: Puzzles solved by arranging the elements of a grid.
    • 15 Puzzle: Sliding numbered tiles in a 4×4 grid so they are arranged in ascending order.
    • Crossword Puzzle: Using clues to fill words into overlapping horizontal and vertical lines in a grid.
    • Magic Square Puzzle: A square array of integers that sum the same in each row, column, and main diagonal.
    • Match-Three Game: A game involving matching three objects that are similar in some way.
    • Queens Puzzle: Put eight queens on a chessboard so they can't capture each other.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: The key is inside what it unlocks.
  • Knights and Knaves: Logic puzzle with a liar and a truth-teller.
  • Metapuzzle: A puzzle whose solution is reliant on the solutions or elements carried over from other (often lesser-scale) puzzles.
  • Monty Hall Problem: Of three doors, one hides a prize and two a Zonk. One Zonk is revealed, will you change your initial pick?
  • Riddle: A word puzzle with logical but non-intuitive answers.
    • Riddle Me This: In order for the characters to continue their journey, they need to solve another character's riddle first.
    • Riddle of the Sphinx: "What has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?"
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: Play a song to open a lock.
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: Puzzles that require thinking outside the box.
    • 3 + 5 = 4: Can you distribute this liquid between differently-sized containers and come up with a specific amount?
    • Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: A precedence logic puzzle with a counter-intuitive solution.
  • Tile-Flipping Puzzle: Several objects need to be flipped to the right state, but interacting with one affects the adjacent ones as well.
  • Towers of Hanoi
  • Train Problem: That ridiculously hard math problem involving two trains.
  • 12 Coins Puzzle: Of twelve coins, one weighs differently than the rest. Three or less weightings to determine which.