Monday, May 17, 2021

What Hidden Object Games Have Taught Me

So I will go on a kick for video games.  I should clarify, that I play games on my phone, so they are all phone games.  I did collection games like Neko Atsume.  I did time management games like Sally's Salon.  I did - uh - chapter games like chapters.  My usual pattern is that I will get very obsessed and then one day I am done and I stop.  Or I finish it but like none of the sequels as much.  
My current kick is hidden objects games.  I started with Hidden Objects: Cat Detective Agency.  It is very clearly marked as in development, so yes, I have now found all the cats and just replay the levels waiting for them to make more.  
And then I found Pearl's Peril and June's Journey.  And I discovered several things.  At first, because I am stubborn and cheap, I waited for the energy to refresh and which is why I started playing two.  Except of course, eventually you have so many fake rooms in your head it takes longer to complete each level because wait, was the fan in this corner or that corner.  You have to decide if acing each level as you hit it makes more sense than the fun of progressing forward.  You have to decide if you are building a cute, well designed island or just plinking down building to get the points you need to get to other levels.  
I also discovered my scores were better at certain times of day.  Not just because eventually you get tired enough that thigns make very little sense.  But also because at peak sunshine streaming in the window time, I just can't see the screen well enough to be as thorough. You are encouraged to join teams, like the page on social media, and do various other things to get more energy, more points, and more chances.  I have chosen to do some and not other of these things.
As often happens to me deep in the throes of a new thing, I discovered I walked around and looked up, and in corners, at the edges of things, because my eyes were now trained to seek new things out.  I looked behind people in video chats, carefully scanning their background.  (Okay, technically I have always done this if people sat in front of a bookshelf.  
Right now I still love it, although my love has returned to normal levels where I also remember to read, and do other things with my eyes.  
But the other thing I learned or was reminded of was the learning process itself.  Now this differs for different people, but for me, going carefully works better than going fast.  These games have a time component and a hint option.  It's easier to go fast when stuck by getting a hint.  But getting a hint often meant I forgot where the thing was the next time I had to find it.  So I was better off finding it myself and sacrificing the short term time gain for the long term memory.  
This is something I have found true in real life too. I am terrible at asking for help with tasks.  But often when I did, I also didn't retain the process. I was better off getting someone who would lead me through than having them demo and me watch.  So what had seemed like an I have to do it myself flaw, was actually an innate understanding of my own learning process that I needed to figure out how to better communicate to others, so I could get the best kind of help for myself.  
Also, nothing will teach how weird the English language is than being asked to find a bat and not knowing if you are looking for a long skinny sports thing or a winged thing.