Searching for Clues
The other day I was watching the BBC news and one story in particular caught my attention. It was a piece about park rangers in South Africa called the Black Mambas — a special group of unarmed women who work to stop poaching in the wildlife park.
The park supervisor who started the group noticed that male recruits like to drive around on ATVs and carry guns, whereas the women want to spend time searching the landscape for clues —thus making women, in his opinion, the better rangers. I was intrigued because his casual observation also happens to describe a difference in gaming preferences between men and women.
Broadly speaking, men prefer scenarios that highlight action and combat, while most women prefer adventures that involve solving puzzles and paying attention to details. (There are always exceptions, of course, and plenty of female gamers out there who can blast with the best of them.) So it’s no surprise that women enjoy playing Hidden Object Games (HOGs), a genre where players search lush, complex visuals for specific items in order to advance a narrative.
Hidden Object Games are a derivative of the classic I Spy game, adapted to digital media. The best ones contain a character-driven storyline, usually in an exotic or mysterious environment; the player’s task is to journey through various places, collecting needed objects as she goes and using them to unlock or solve puzzles. She encounters multiple hidden object scenes, offering a list of items that she has to find within that location. Typically, there is additional play offered by way of mini-games scattered throughout the adventure. And all of this is in aid of helping a person/people or a situation—from a missing child to a world on the verge of evil destruction.
For the past fifteen years, Big Fish Games has been publishing some of the most popular HOGs. Recently, they have done a fantastic job transitioning experiences once destined for desktops to mobile devices. On smaller screens, Big Fish ensures players can zoom in and move around the screen in order to facilitate finding the more difficult objects.
The following are some of our favorite Big Fish Games HOGs:
Otherworld: Spring of Shadows
HOGs have a tendency to live and die by the quality of the graphics — the artwork in this game is truly amazing.
Drawn: The Painted Tower
It’s one of the best free hidden object games for iPad available in the iTunes App Store and it’s really popular. Drawn is great because every item and puzzle piece you collect further advances the storyline.
Where’s Waldo: The Fantastic Journey
When you think about the hidden object game genre, the first game that pops into your head is “Where’s Waldo”. Finding Waldo in the virtual world includes, tons of quests, a party mode where you compete against friends and other wacky surprises.
Lux Family Secrets: The Ripple Effect
Players must travel through time in order to rectify past mistakes. Locations include Benjamin Franklin’s Study, the Beatles’ Studio and the Wright Brothers’ Workshop.
This is a huge game consisting of 20 mini-games and 10 chapters.
The next time you find yourself sitting and searching in a popular HOG, think about how you just may have the perfect skillset to patrol the parks in South Africa.
Image credit: Myths of the World: The Heart of Desolation by Eipix Games. BigFishGames.com.