Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My strange addiction

My new laptop came with some "free" games on it. Actually they weren't free at all. You got to play them for 30 minutes for free, then a little message came up saying "To continue you have to purchase the game.." I love that their business model is from drug-pushers. And after 30 minutes, I was addicted, so I had to buy the whole game.

The game in question was called Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspect. It's a "hidden object" game. You are presented with a complicated, confusing picture like this:

And you have to click on the objects in the little side-menu, while a clock counts down the time you have left. When you have found all the objects, you are given another picture, then another and another. This is all tied around the flimsiest of storylines, and sometimes, rather than a hidden object picture you have to play one of those sliding tiles games to make a picture or something similar. But that's almost irrelevant - it's the hidden picture which I get addicted to. It is best played as part of a team, alongside someone else.

My first thought on seeing one of these bizarre rooms was "How untidy! This must be the home of someone with mental health issues - a horder who cannot throw anything away." As you start to play the game though, you focus less on the weird clutter and more on appreciating how many objects are cleverly hidden in the picture. Left with just a harpoon and a surgical clamp to find, as time runs out, you are overcome with a mounting sense of anxiety. Your eyes scan the same bit of screen for the twentieth time, until finally, you realise that the innocent-looking chair you're looking at is not so innocent at all. That smudge your brain told you to ignore is actually a harpoon, tucked into one of the chair legs. You click on it, feeling mentally exhausted yet relieved, only to be told that you ran out of time and have to do the whole thing all over again, with new objects.

I finally finished Mystery Case Files and am now playing another of these stupid games, set on the Titanic. And that familiar sense of panic is returning. Where is the clown doll? Where?

4 comments:

Aaron said...

Welcome to the downward spiral. Be prepared to let everyone know you won't be seen for the next six months, and order a pack of spare computer mice from Amazon while you can.

Anonymous said...

It looks as though the makers of Mystery Case Files have stolen ideas for the decor of their rooms from "Lurid Digs"...

Lubin said...

The company produces a game every day, so I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually get round to Mystery Case Files: Lurid Digs.

theguyliner said...

I once had to play one of these games as research, so I was actually being paid to do it, and got to play for free. I'm not really a gamer, but had a newfound respect for former crack addicts after I stopped playing.