Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

The Professor Layton series is one of the staples of the Nintendo DS and its successor, the 3DS. The series has sold over 13 million copies across the world and has spawned spinoff games, novels, a manga, and a feature film. And what is the inspiration for all this? A book series that series creator Akihiro Hino read as a child.

This book series is called Head Gymnastics (Atama no Taiso) and each volume is filled with nothing but various brain teasers like those you find in the Layton games. This series of books is so popular in Japan that it has generated 23 volumes since the first one was released in 1966; and the series has sold over 12 million copies in Japan total. There have also been four Nintendo DS games based on the series which contain more than 1500 brain teasers from the books.


When it comes to the Layton series, Akihiro Hino actually hired the writer of Head Gymnastics, Akira Tago, to design the puzzles of the games. So check out the pictures below to see some examples of the puzzles that inspired the Professor Layton franchise.

This puzzle asks you to find the path to rescue the tied-up girl. Can you do it?


This next one is a bit of a classic. Can you make is so that after cutting out the three boxes, both riders on box C will be riding on top of their respective horses (i.e., without one being upside-down, between the horses legs)?


I'll leave you with one final puzzle from the book. This one asks you to turn the top shape of coins into the bottom one in as few moves as possible. How many moves does it take you? There are no special tricks in this one. Good luck!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter