Here's an amateurish (and probably quite ugly) chart showing the average sudoku experience:
There's stuff about France, but given that it's about the French, it's probably just easier to say that they probably gave up quickly on this 'devil's magic' (or was that the people they colonized (i.e. early Canadians) ?).
Truly, nothing less than Satan's trickery.
'Modern' sudoku first appeared in the late 70's, in some magazine published by Dell Magazines, as 'Number Place'.
With a name like that, it's a surprise it didn't take the world by storm over the weekend.
"I gotta get me some Number Place"
Eventually, it found it's way to Japan (never a good sign) in the mid-80's.
Given that Japan is also the global capital of tentacle porn, it's highly likely that some offshoot of the two has sprung up in some place.
This, but 100 times worse
According to the esteemed Dr. Wiki (PhD in 'everything-ology' and multiple MD's in 'knowledge-onomy'), sudoku's rise in popularity took place in 2005, which makes leading social researchers wonder just how bored the world must have been, and what might have caused such a thing.
Yup, the world must've been hella bored.
There are variants, in case the person isn't bored enough for/has nothing better to do than the normal version.
There are also apparently tournaments.
We've come so far since we stoned dinosaurs to death for their meat and fur.
In case one wishes to become better/learn how to solve these things faster, there are many free resources to be found by google or on youtube.
There are also how-to books and whatever, but seriously, you can probably just get the pdf's of those somewhere (disclaimer: Cracked.com does not advocate the cool crime of internet piracy (or ripping off Futurama)).