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The Hidden Object Games post

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"Over the last few years, the evolution of Hidden Object games has been astounding. They basically have taken over where the old Point and Click adventure games left off."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Npu8xQDxS4

What do you guys think? Also PLEASE recommend some good games in this genre, since I'm now extremely interested in trying out a new genre and it's the first time I've heard of Hidden Object Adventure games. In fact, the last Hidden Object "game" I played was the kids book series I Spy xD

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HOG is a genre I'm not a big fan of. I've tried many, but only liked two. At all. One is the Dream Chronicles Series. The other one, and this one I really liked and would recommend, is the Drawn trilogy. They are all available on Big Fish Games and the first Drawn game is also available on Steam.

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I recommend all of the Mystery Case Files series, except Huntsville, Prime Suspects, Ravenhearst, and Madame Fate. Return to Ravenhearst, Dire Grove, 13th Skull, Escape From Ravenhearst, Shadow Lake and Fate's Carnival (out soon) are all good.

I also recommend the Drawn series, as well as the Enlightenus games. There are probably a couple other that I enjoyed that I'm missing here, but those are a good start for anyone into HOG/Adventure games.

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I LOVE hidden object games! Mystery Case Files has always been one of my favorite series, and the new one coming out next month should be exciting!

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"Over the last few years, the evolution of Hidden Object games has been astounding. They basically have taken over where the old Point and Click adventure games left off."

I can't agree with their statement. Puzzles were an integral part of classic adventure games for me.

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There usually are some kind of puzzles in HOGs though. Usually they are very simplistic, but Drawn actually even have inventory puzzles. Something which, for the most part, even Telltale Games don't have in their games.

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No telltale rants here!

HOGs have really advanced over the years, somewhat to the point when the point-and-clicky goodness and puzzle solving has in fact taken surprising precedence over the HO scenes, something which I like IMO.

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It's no rant and I liked all of the pre-BttF Telltale Games to varying degrees. It's an undeniable fact that Tales of Monkey Island is the only one of their games to have inventory puzzles.

I think my main issue with most of the HOGs I've tried is that there's such a big disconnect between the story and the gameplay and there's so little immersion that you might as well be circling objects with a pen in a magazine. The stories in the games I've played have also been extremely cheesy with the exception of the franchises I mentioned further up.

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Haha, ok. If you don't use a classic location/inventory/dialogue separation I guess you could count that one.

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There usually are some kind of puzzles in HOGs though. Usually they are very simplistic, but Drawn actually even have inventory puzzles. Something which, for the most part, even Telltale Games don't have in their games.

Most of the newer HOGs have inventory based puzzles, and they even force you to be observant and try to pick things up that might be useful.

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Okay, so I skimmed through a couple of let's plays and it seems that they are actually pretty casual. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just that they are more adventure-likes or adventure-lites than an improvement on/evolution of/continuation of classic adventure games.

Or maybe the company that I picked (Big Fish) is not a particularly good example and there have been others that have advanced the genre more?

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I'd say the Drawn trilogy is a little less casual than most of TTG's games and that's Big Fish Games through and through. I've said it before, but I definitely recommend giving it a shot. Most of the other HOGs I've played are no more adventure games than your average [insert any other genre here]. Even FPSes have story.

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I'll chime in along with the chorus singing the praises of the Drawn trilogy. The third one loses quite a bit of steam, in terms of plot-interest at least (the plot overall is pretty thin to begin with) but they are pretty engaging games. Every once in a while I try a demo of another game in the Big Fish "adventure" section but nothing I've seen from them even comes close. The art style is great, the puzzles are fun, and the story is just enough to be intriguing despite (or because of) its minimalism. I wish Big Fish had more games like that. The Dream Chronicles series seems like it should be similar, but for some reason I can't stand it. The Azada series is also on the adventurey side, so you might want to try that demo as well. You might like them more than I did. Other than those series, most of the "adventure" games are just straight up "find the things on the list" games throughout.

As for the main topic of the thread, I think the fact that we still identify the genre as "hidden object games" prevents them from really being a successor to the point-and-click adventure genre... The main focus is still on what is ultimately a mindless task. That said, Drawn illustrates (hehe) that it is possible to take that kind of engine, budget, and aesthetic and create a much more compelling game, so it makes me a bit sad that their focus continues to be on these random, mindless collect-a-thons.

I will say, the one hidden object game that I really enjoyed was Mystery Case Files MillionHeir on the Nintendo DS, and that was mostly because the gameplay worked really well on the touch screen, and also because the narrative connecting the scenes was really, comically absurd.

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Sounds like we have pretty similar tastes in HOGs, though I liked the Dream Chronicles series more than you. I got it and played through them while I was on Drawn withdrawal and thought they were fairly good puzzlers. They try a bit too hard with the story though, and it feels like an attempt at making an epic fantasy that falls short and end up being a bit cheesy.

While you might technically classify most games in the genre as collect-a-thons, it doesn't quite fit with my definition of the term. What I think of as collect-a-thons are games where the collecting is more of a carrot to explore huge and interesting environments, while the collecting in HOGs are usually all there is to the game. At least the ones where all there is to them is finding a bunch of items in a still image.

Thanks for the recommendation of Mystery Case Files. I'll definitely look into that.

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Yeah, I just meant it was a "marathon of collecting things," not really considering that collect-a-thon generally refers to a different sort of game. I have nothing against collection-based exploration in 3D platformers and the like.

I was sad that none of the Mystery Case Files games on PC seem to have the humor element that the DS one had, but they do at least tend to at least convey a sense of mystery and atmosphere.

Adventuregamers.com reviews a lot of these hybrid/casual games: http://www.adventuregamers.com/home/casual Maybe I should give Azada in Libro another shot

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So I've been of something of a HOG binge lately. I know I should play my Six in September games, but my daughter has been teething these last couple of weeks, so it's hard to get into something that requires more than a modicum of concentration. More specifically I've been playing through the games I got in the Artifex Mundi bundle after playing Clockwork Tales, since I mostly liked that one and they are all available for Linux. Here are some thoughts on them:

* Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink - Good pacing, story is decent enough, a lot more focus on casual adventure game puzzles and mini games than hidden object scenes. Overall liked it.

* Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart - Requires way too much backtracking, story is shit, a ton of hidden object scenes or alternatively mahjong. Both are tedious and full playthroughs with both are required for all achievements. Got fed up with the game and don't plan on completing it.

* Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden - Cheesy underwater horror story but enjoyable enough. Pacing is good, except for an annoying elevator sequence you have to go through a lot. Lots of mini games and casual adventure game puzzles. Some hidden object scenes that can be done as dominos instead. Nothing special but at least relatively short.

* 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek - Bare-bones mystery/supernatural story. Forgettable. Annoying clue deduction scenes. Mini games are mostly bad. Hidden object scenes are at least very easy and the game is short. Done by another developer and published by AM.

* Enigmatis: The Mists of Ravenwood - Currently playing this one. Story is more fleshed out but predictable (I think). Hidden object scenes require too much effort, but I haven't tried the alternative pair-matching game. Mini games are mostly good. Kind of enjoy this one, but I wish there'd be less hidden object scenes.

All of these games have item combines, but none in-inventory combines. The newer ones have some kind of collectibles, which I'm a sucker for. If their newer games are more like Clockwork Tales, I can see myself playing more of these once I'm done with the ones I got in the bundle. I think Clockwork Tales (and maybe Abyss and Enigmatis) is (are) on par with the Dream Chronicles series, but none of them are near as good as the Drawn trilogy in my opinion.

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