Extra Credits: Overlooked

This week, we familiarize ourselves with an often-ignored game genre.

Episode video is on YouTube

Show Notes:

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Recent Comments:

  • Great, now all I want to know is James' take on cyberpunk hidden object game!

    I'm interested in what James has to say about hidden object game in cyberpunk setting. What pops into mind to make it unique is the possibility of the player being able to switch Augmented Reality views to look for things.

    *Sets up an forum account*
    Hi everyone!

    I have to confess: I didn't know hidden objects games (although I might have played one or two in my "cd-rom minigame collection" years (long before usb sticks became the new floppy disks)... please don't ask :lol:

    Anyhow: I'm also interested in the cyberpunk hidden object game. :geek:

    With kind regards,

  • how i figured out where to find a hidden object game
    episode: "... artifex mundi, one of the biggest hidden object game companies..."
    went to the artifex mundi site
    played the demo for enigmatis
    you should go to their site

  • everyone keeps talking about Cthulu and whatnot, sorry, not a fan of the lovecraft genre. The idea that everything that is the "other" is automatically frightening annoys me. Also not that into Horror literature. Prefer my Horror in my manga.

    What I do wish they made was a collection of the major "Punk" genres and their use and misuse. They briefly touched on Cyberpunk a bunch of times, but there's also Steampunk, Clock punk(otherwise called Clockwork), Biopunk, and Post-Cyberpunk. I know that most Punks are the same just with different design aesthetics, but Biopunk and Cyberpunk have some pretty specific differences in terms of subject matter, and Post-Cyberpunk is actually very different from Cyberpunk(most Punks deal with the coming apocalypse caused by these advances in technologies, and it gets cool to see how society advances AFTER all that chaos is put away)

    Also, as I was goofing with my Kinect on my X-box 360, I realized something very quickly. The Kinect is a great too for Point-and-click adventure games since you basically turn your hand into a mouse. It's very similar to a natural human movement too, since we are so use to using a Mouse in todays world, we can picture using a mouse naturally

  • I think a Kinect point & click could become pretty tedious pretty quick, just like how you wouldn't want a Kinect RTS. It's one thing to rest your hand on the mouse and slide it about, but holding your hand up all the time would get pretty annoying pretty quickly. Not to mention several games have shown that selecting things with the Kinect using hand gesture isn't always a guaranteed thing so if the gesture recognition isn't absolutely perfect it would just add to the annoyance.

  • Hopefully this topic will get revisited at some point. There is a surprising amount of depth and topics to consider:

    Q: Why does this genre appeal so strongly to women?
    A1: It's inexpensive, can be played on any hardware (many have tablet or browser versions), and can usually be walked away from at a moment's notice without consequence.
    A2: The player is usually not asked to commit violence. Also, the player is never in mortal peril other than a few jump scares in cut-scenes. The "Miss Marple" comparison is right-on.

    Q: So it appeals to women, how does that affect the game play (in a feedback loop with Q1)?
    -This one was actually touched on in the episode. Basically, the narratives are things that provide an emotional hook for mothers (lots of lost/kidnapped daughters and friends). The mechanics are challenges that make the player feel smart or clever (as opposed to powerful) when overcome.

    Q: So how has this genre evolved over the years?
    -10 years ago, these were just slideshows of images to click on with maybe a connecting theme
    -By 5 years ago, most games had a narrative tying the scenes together and the good ones had voiced and/or animated cut-scenes.
    -At some point in there, the artists started being the narrow part of the pipeline so they added different kinds of puzzles to pad out the game.
    -At this point, the games would best be described as first-person point-and-click adventures. Actual hidden object puzzles are a minority of the content, and tend to be step 1 of a simple inventory puzzle (see next Question).

    Q: So what does the game design look like now?
    1- Watch cut-scene establishing your role and the stakes. Scene will leave you with a mystery to investigate or peril to escape from.
    2- Search for some clue or part to solving the current challenge in a hidden object puzzle. Yes, you DO have to find all 15 objects before you can pick up the one thing you want.
    3- The item is the missing piece of a larger puzzle or thing that needs to be reassembled.
    4- Now you know where to go next, but something is blocking your way. Repeat steps 2 & 3 to overcome the obstacle.
    5- Repeat from step 1 until story and/or budget is finished. The good ones will layer several of these "find puzzle > find piece > fix puzzle > solve puzzle" sequences in parallel.
    6- Frame all of this with a scaled hint system and multiple modes (casual or timed) to appeal to a range of skill levels and experience. James would love this stuff and Artifex Mundi are REALLY good at it at this point.
    7- Make a couple extra "levels" that fill in some unanswered questions and offer them as part of the twice-as-expensive collectors edition.
    8- Port and release it in as many languages as possible.

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