Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Of HOGs and Men

Have you ever played one of those Hidden Objects Games (HOGs)?

I’m currently playing one called Pahelika: The Lost Legends, and it’s quite difficult. So difficult that I have to cheat and download the strategy guide just to move to the next level. I have played dozens of HOGs, and I plow through them somehow without needing to cheat. In the earlier games, sooner or later, the puzzle unravels and you realize you’ve been staring at the answer all along. But this game just plain stumps me because of the utter lack of clues as to what’s next to be done. All you get is a generic exclamation about finding the next clue, and “oh-what-a-pretty-fairy-Garden” and then you are left to your own wits and defenses. The game so frustrates me that a friend told me if I was putting half of the energy it took to solve the befuddled mysteries into finding a boyfriend, I’ll be effing Venus de Milo.

It’s so obvious she has never played a HOG all her life.

The thing about finding hidden objects is it provides you mental exercise in preparation for the real thing. It’s all about finding the hidden treasures in the guise of the arcane. A rock is a rock is a rock, right? But what if it was actually part of some ancient pottery that provides you a map to unlocking the gates of Techewanawana-eske-tiralaralalir where the last of the Scrolls of Fate are buried. Finding this scroll will allow you to conjure up the portal entering Nirvana Phase 4, where waiting for you is a veritable treasure trove of unwritten JRR Tolkien stories and essays and a movie projector playing War of the Buttons 24 hours a day? Sigh. Heaven.

That beats boyfriend any old time. Then again. Maybe not. But they’re surely as hard to find as that damned old pottery.

But if Pahelika has taught me anything, it’s this: just keep clicking. Sooner or later something will shimmer and next thing you know it’s in your bag. I’ve broken my own heart twice, and the taste for love games sure lessens the more times you needed chocolate to recuperate. But then, if you stop believing that the next object you click at will be the piece that finally completes everything, the less chances you’ll probably find him. If only because, you stopped clicking.

You should also stop looking at things as what they are, but as what they could be. We have this obsession about defining things, the need to comprehend and make sense of what transpires in everyday life. But we keep forgetting that things are in constant flux and that “what is” may be just five seconds away from becoming “what was.” Careful about finishing your sentences way too early.

And lastly, when stumped, get yourself a strategy. It won’t get you the home run, but it’ll sure get you to the next level.

In the meantime though, I'll play the HOGs and leave the Men second-guessing.

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