Mystery case files is a franchise that has stuck around for what seems like forever. During its lifespan, the cult-indie classic has undergone many significant facelifts. Despite that fact, the ...
Hidden Object Games
Hidden object games are an adventure puzzle game genre in which the player is presented with a list of items and must find them within the scene. It might sound like a fairly simple concept but there is more to it than that.
The hidden object game genre has been around for a long time. In its original form it was called seek and find and it required players to search static screens for objects matching specific criteria (such as “a cat” or “something red”). The first notable commercial success for the genre was “Mortimer Beckett” in 1998, which would spawn several sequels and spinoffs over the next few years.
The genre really took off when Big Fish Games released “Mystery Case Files: Huntsville” in 2005. The game, which was the first in a series of “Mystery Case Files” titles, offered high-definition graphics and professional voice acting. It also introduced the hidden object genre to many gamers for the first time and used a system that allowed players to choose how difficult their search would be (with more objects on screen equaling easier gameplay).
Big Fish Games’ success with “Mystery Case Files: Huntsville” kicked off a new age for the hidden object game genre. Dozens of companies started producing their own titles and major video game publishers such as Electronic Arts soon started releasing casual games featuring hidden object scenes.
The next big change for the genre came in 2008 when ERS Game Studios released “Dark Tales: Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders In The Rue Morgue”. It was a turning point for the genre because it moved away from using static screens and replaced them with a system where items to be found would fly onto the screen. This led to an increase in difficulty as players had not only small objects to find but also large ones.
In 2009, most major hidden object game developers started releasing their products as free-to-try titles This change was primarily made due to Big Fish Games’ success with the freemium business model.
The latest update for the genre came in 2010 when Avanquest Software released “Haunted Manor: Lord Of Mirrors”, which used a storybook presentation and offered players the ability to use found objects to aid them in their search. The game not only sold well enough to warrant several sequels but also led other companies to start working on similar titles that were all using settings like haunted houses or mansions.
Hidden object games are still one of the most popular casual genres around and it seems this will be so for years to come.