Photo of Lights Out

The Original Lights Out! Webpage

The first (c. 1996) page so devoted to the worship of this neato Tiger toy.

Bored of two dimensional Lights Out? Tiger sold a Lights Out Cube for awhile in 1998.

There's also Lights Out 2000 complete with multi-colored LEDs, "battle" mode, and "digitized sound."


I grabbed the manuals from Tiger. They are PDF format. I zipped them up to save space, though.


Here are the solutions to the first twenty-five problems in the style of the Lights Out manual. I've also received all 50 solutions to "Mode 1." in graphical form.


Christopher Dannemiller sent in another solver. (A "smart," non-brute force version) Download the zipped program and level files and/or take a look at the readme file. If you're into programming, here's the source code in C++. (It compiled w/o errors in MSVC++ 5.0) The algorithm comes from David Guichard, a math professor at Whitman College. His Java version of the game is one of the links below.

Robert L. Henderson sent me a brute-force Lights Out solver! His explanation of it's operation: " . . . [it tries] all 25 ways of pressing 1 button, then all 25 * 24 / 2 = 300 ways of pressing 2 buttons, etc. until the "lit" cells match the puzzle board. Of course, pressing the same buttons again will turn them all off." I've included his original Pascal source code and an improved QuickBasic version (Mr. Henderson points out that most machines have QBasic installed; type "qbasic" at your DOS prompt to see if you've got it.) I'll try to put a DOS executable program on the web either made from this QuickBasic version or a C translation. If you know a little about programming, take a look at the source and send me your comments; I'll pass them along to the author.

Al Geist has developed a Lights Out Java applet that does most of the work for you! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Mr. Geist declined to share the source code for the applet. However, he was kind enough to share a little insight into his solving algorithm in these e-mail conversations.

Courtney McFarren's page explains the method used by Geist. It includes the lookup-table used once the lights have been chased to the bottom row.


Or, you could simply use plain old math! Several people have pointed me to "Turning lights out with linear algebra," an article that appeared in Vol. 71, Issue 4 of Mathematics Magazine (Washington; Oct 1998). It was written by Marlow Anderson and Todd Feil. The article is copyrighted by the Mathmatical Assoc. of America, so I cannot link to it, but if you have any background in matrix math, go to the library and read this. It's about 4 pages with figures.

A neat article appears in the October 2001 issue of Mathematics Magazine describing the game and a solution from two different perspectives: the first as a curious puzzle fan, the second as a mathematician:

Two reflected analyses of lights out; Oscar Martin-Sanchez; Mathematics Magazine, Washington; Oct 2001; Vol. 74, Iss. 4; pg. 295, 10 pgs
Resources related the that article are at the magazine's website. The magazine is part of the online ProQuest Research Library which many Universities and Public Libraries have access to.

Rafael Losada writes: "I converted the supposed exponential problem in a simple linear problem." Currently, the explanation is in the Spanish journal: SUMA (number 40, June 2002). See his webpage for details.


(working as of 1/31/2003)


Please make me aware of any mistakes. Or simply send suggestions, comments, 'thank you's,' etc.
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