Occasionally l enjoy escaping reality by playing hidden-object adventure games on my tablet, although lately I’ve noticed some developers trying to get “innovative” with the format, and I don’t appreciate it. For me, the whole point of these games is that they follow a reassuringly predictable pattern of absurdity, which I find comforting. If you’ve never played one, this is generally how they go:
You are a mild-mannered school teacher/museum curator/photo archivist named Jill/James/Cicely/Bryce. One day you receive a mysterious letter/missive/phone call summoning you to an isolated mansion on a remote island/dilapidated hotel in the Swiss Alps/town suddenly abandoned by its residents, so that you can track down a devious criminal/your long-lost twin/an all-powerful artifact/an evil haunted doll. Once you arrive, you blithely head to the Mansion/Cave/Underground Bunker/Crashed Blimp that Holds All the Answers, but wait! It’s not a simple as that. You see, to get the key that opens the entrance, you must first retrieve the box that’s in the bird’s nest in the garden cove. But to get at the box, you need a sling shot. And to make the slingshot, you need wood. But to get the wood, you need an ax. And to find the ax, which is locked in the shed, you need a hatchet to shatter the lock. But to get the hatchet you need…you get the idea. You wander around for hours jumping through ridiculous hoops to collect objects that you need to get the damn key to the damn place. Interspersed throughout are scenes where a whole bunch of things are jumbled together in a big pile, and you have to pick out certain objects from the mess. Happy pixel-hunting!
Your puzzle-solving is occasionally interrupted by stilted, terrible dialogue scenes with characters of questionable intent. The games always end with at least one of three elements: A fire, a swirling mist, and/or shattering glass, which you watch from the prop plane/motorboat/dune buggy/hot air balloon you narrowly escape on, often while clutching the hand of your fiancé/a recently de-possessed teenager/an orphaned child. But Good Typist, you ask, when are you going to get to the part about why life is like a hidden object game? Well, I’m no philosopher, but it seems obvious to me that there’s a huge metaphor in all of this. I just don’t know how to explain it. I apologize for failing my own post.
I don’t want engage in collective internet grieving over Robin Williams. I’d rather just keep my sadness to myself. But I want you to know I am showing great restraint in not ranting here about idiots—excuse me, misguided human beings, who are trashing him for committing suicide. Andrea at Nice Atheist Girl wrote a highly intelligent and sensitive post on this, and it would be best for you to just read that, than for me to fumble around trying to write something as good. So instead, enjoy this TED talk, and contemplate the vast and astonishing universe we live in: