It's easy to see why Mystery Case Files Madame Fate was voted number one hidden object game for 2007, and still going strong. The storyline for MCF is set around carnivals, crystal balls, fortune tellers and magic. Re-playability of this online game is high, with each new game offering a different set of objects per level for the player to find.
Personally I found this hidden object game extremely challenging. So much so, that it took me more than several attempts to pass the first level. For those new to hidden object games, this could be a little off putting. From a game developers view point, I'd have made the first level a little easier to increase the players enjoyment of the game before challenging them with harder levels later on. However, considering the success of Mystery Case Files Madame Fate, it's possible that most players enjoy a test of their skills.
Game design plans are used to help game developers get a clear objective in mind before they start to code the actionscript (Adobe Flash). The example of a game plan shown below will be used for discussion purposes within our Adobe Flash tutorials that we will be starting in the near future.
Note: This is not the design plan the developers of Mystery Case Files Madame Fate used when making this hidden object game. It's merely a reverse-engineer of a game design plan based on my experiences as a player.
Title: Mystery Case Files Madame Fate. Also known as MCF.
Developers of Mystery Case Files Madam Fate: Big Fish Games
One sentence description: Hidden object game where you have to find numerous objects with a set time frame.
Scenario / World: The scenario is set around carnivals, crystal balls, fortune tellers and magic.
Mode: Single Player
Objectives: Find all the hidden objects within a set time frame so you can move on to the next level.
Characters: There are no playing characters, simply graphical items to find. Some game developers may call Madame Fate, the fortune teller, a non playing character. She does help give the player an idea of the story line and helps to set the scenario / world.
Audio / visual aesthetics:
Possible Target Audience: 7 - 70 year olds. In other words suitable for everyone.
Itemization of game elements:
Game is played with mouse clicks.
The introduction page gives the player 3 options:
After pressing enter you see Madam Fate the fortune teller welcoming you, then it continues on to the hidden object game.
All the elements on the main screen is set on the right side of the game. From there you will notice right up the top, the time limit, which is set to 5 minutes for each level. 5 minutes seems to be the time set for most hidden object games, not only Mystery Case Files Madame Fate.
You can then get a hint, which is handy for when you are stuck. However, this useful tool wasn't really obvious the first time I played this game, as I missed it altogether.
You can also see a random list of objects and items to find on the right side. This list of objects is different with each new game.
If time runs out before you've found all the items shown in the list on the right side, the player is given an option to start again with a new set of objects to find. This takes you back to the absolute beginning with the introduction page. Personally, I'd rather have seen the player taken back to the actual level and not have to go through the storyline time and time again.
Itemization of game rules: