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The 5 Best Things About Hidden Object Games

Rate this Article Hidden Object adventure games have become quite popular in recent years. Let's check out some reasons why this game genre is attracting a lot of attention.

Hidden Object Games - The 5 Best Things About Hidden Object Games

In 1984, the first point-and-click adventure game was released on the Mac computer. It was called "Enchanted Scepters" by Silicon Beach Software and utilized the MAC OS interface to play the game. Enchanted Scepters opened a new world to computer adventure gaming using the mouse instead of tediously typing descriptive sentences to move through the game. Following at the heels of the game, Roberta Williams released her legendary "King's Quest," which (although not fully point-and-click) became the forerunner of the genre.

Through the years, point-and-click evolved computer adventure gaming to new heights, becoming the standard for practically all types of adventure and puzzle games. Of the most popular are those by LucasArts... The Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Zak McKraken, Grim Fandango, and many more. This led to the proliferation of the point-and-click genre as developers started joining the speeding bandwagon.

Zak McKraken

The idea of point-and-click was to initiate action on the part of the game's main character. Whether it made the character move to a specific location, do an action, or pick things up, the player had to point and click on the game scenes to get things done. When it comes to virtual objects like, for example, a key that unlocks a door or a box of matches to light torches or candles, they are usually not that easy to find. The player has to search around the current (game) environment to spot what they are looking for. Sometimes, prior actions are needed to get to the object in question. Thus, the term Hidden Object came to life. By the 2000s, and with the popularity of mobile gaming, game developers started to focus on the puzzle-solving aspect of point-and-click adventure games. In 2005, developer Big Fish released the first (officially accepted) Hidden Object game, "Mystery Case Files: Huntsville," thus initiating the Hidden Object game genre.

However, Hidden Object games are still in the point-and-click genre, although some remove the adventure feature of gaming. Just like in the old LucasArts games, Hidden Object games have the player searching the screen for the not-so-obvious important objects required to move forward in the game, except that some Hidden Object games stop and remain with the activity. When the game has a quest or story that needs to be fulfilled, it becomes an adventure game, and the thin line between a point-and-click and a Hidden Object game starts to dissolve. Regardless, putting the slight differences aside, point-and-click hidden object adventure gaming has several endearing characteristics which have created a loyal player base and following through the years. The genre and sub-genre are not for everyone as not all gamers find engaging a deep thought and keen eye for hours on end fun.

So, to this, let's take a quick look at five-game factors that make Hidden Object and Adventure gaming unique and a blast to play.

The Challenge of the Mind

As mentioned, the game genre is not for everyone. These games will appeal to players who would rather play Chess than CounterStrike. As far as adventure games go (and since the time of Colossal Cave in the 70s), there is always a puzzle to solve. There will always be something to perplex and vex you at almost every twist and turn along the road. Believe it or not, some folks love and crave these sorts of things. After all, there is always a little Sherlock Holmes in everyone. From the simple spot of the difference to mind-boggling cryptology, puzzles never cease to fascinate people who find outstanding achievements in solving them.

Wonderful Environments

The Color of Magic

The majority of adventure and puzzle-solving games are in 2D animation and graphics. 3D is usually used for action-intensive games where the player character has to run, jump, shoot, and die. With Hidden Object Puzzle Solving, little details are the ones of importance to the game. The objective is to find something in the environment to solve a mystery, complete a task, and move forward in the game.

Nowadays, computing devices (desktop or mobile) have both memory and computing capacities that go way beyond the devices in the 80s and 90s when the game genre first began. Even in the late 90s and early 2000s, creators like LucasArts were delivering game backgrounds that gave a Wow! What's more, today, where developers can provide the best in 2D animation and graphics resulting in environments that make jaws drop and eyes go wide. Just by the artwork alone, today's hidden objects and adventure games make you think, but blink, blink, and blink.

Adventure and Mystery

Grim Fandango

As mentioned, Hidden Object games are an offshoot of point-and-click adventures. In gaming, there will always be a mystery when there is an adventure. It doesn't necessarily have to be a who-done-it scenario, but a simple "Where do I find the key to open this door?" or "How did they get the model ship into the bottle?" sort of thing. Solving and finding solutions to the questions and problems that pop up and their relation to the main thing that has to be accomplished in the game creates the adventure and the mystery of mysteries that super sleuth you in front of the screen must solve and do. The better and more intriguing the mystery, the better the game.

Voice Acting and Narration

Not all voice-acting in games is good. Some are either plain mediocre down to cheesy, cringy, and bad. However, when a developer pulls it off, they pull it well! Every single hard-core HALO gamer develops solid feelings for Cortana and a heck of an admiration for Chief. This is because the voice acting of the characters is the best of the best in the game industry. Both Jen Taylor and Steve (Master Chief) Downes have shaped both characters into the icons that they are today. Even in the currently exploding Audionovel narration industry, a good voice-over counts the most.

Nobody appreciates a monotone voice or those voice-generating apps that make you feel that you're listening to an elevator than to a real person. Believe it or not, inflection, pitch, speed, timing, and the proper display of emotions go a long way in making adventure and puzzle-solving mysteries a narrative worth seeing, listening to, and experiencing.

The Story Goes Really Deep

Haunted Manor

Not all Hidden Object games have an adventure to complete. However, the majority do. No matter how mundane locating hidden objects seem to be, if doing this and/or that will shed light on what you the player are doing in the game in the first place, fitting the pieces of a puzzle together will be as much motivation for one to solve the whole mystery just like Mrs. Jessica Fletcher in "Murder She Wrote" (80s Mystery TV was never so good).

Some stories will touch you, some will make you sad, and some, well, will scare the pants out of you! Nevertheless, getting to the end of the game and a satisfying conclusion to the tale of tales, gives the player a great sense of achievement as one closes the folder and stamps "Case Closed" on it.

These are only five reasons why many gamers enjoy, spend time with, and get stuck in Hidden Object and Adventure games. Whether you happen to be solving a mystery or simply locating an object, just remember that man's curiosity and the need to find out why has always addictively gotten the best of him. Happy hunting!

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