I don’t really need another thing to fill up time in my life, but somehow my DSi turned up at Christmas and slotted right in. My only real complaint with it is that I can’t seem to get hold of the types of game I like (adventure, mystery, puzzles). I played my way through Professor Layton One and Two, and enjoyed them despite the extrinsic puzzles because the story was fun and I liked collecting the hint coins. I had no real enthusiasm for the daily tedium of Professor Kawashima and found myself just getting a bit too much eye strain from Mystery Case Files.
Then along came Zelda and the Phantom Hourglass and made me rethink what I know about the types of games I like. It involves fighting and killing things and doing things in a certain time and I really shouldn’t like it. Oh but I do. Thinking back to the work I’ve been doing on what makes ARGs engaging, it ticks some of the boxes:
- Collection – there are lots of things to collect, coins, ship parts, objects, map pieces…
- Narrative – interesting storyline and loads of characters you can talk to.
- Puzzle-solving – lots of it, and neatly embedded into the game play.
- Creativity – different puzzles can be approached in different ways.
However, there’s more to it than that. This got me thinking about what other aspects of the game I find so compelling:
- Surprises – new things keep appearing, new places to explore, new things to collect, new things to do.
- Tactile play – I love using a stylus, writing, blowing candles out and really interacting with the potential of the device.
- Simple pleasures – there’s something very basely satisfying about smashing a rock with a ‘crash’ or swiping the top of a flower with a ‘swish’.
I’m sure that as I keep playing the game will continue to evolve, so I may well be adding to this list on another occasion (or adding a rant about being stuck because it has suddenly got really hard). At the moment however, thank you Zelda for broadening my horizons.