Use antiques to solve a family mystery in Antiques Roadshow
There’s an old saying that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. And sometimes that old doo-dad that you pulled out of grandma’s attic can be worth a small fortune, as anyone who watches the popular television program Antiques Roadshow knows very well. Namco’s hidden object game of the same name is more than just a game about the show; you’ll also go on a scavenger hunt across the United States searching for special items to help solve a family secret.
Julia is such a fan of Antiques Roadshow that it inspires her to apply for a job at an antiques shop. The job turns out to be even more exciting than she had imagined. In addition to travelling across the country searching for rare and valuable antiques to feature in the shop, Julia’s on a special mission from her boss, Mr. Hinton, to discover the significance of an old decoder ring that’s been in his family for generations.
Antiques Roadshow‘s gameplay follows a rigid format. After stamping her plane ticket, Julia arrives at the location begins her hunt, which involves clearing the room of a list of hidden objects. One of these items will be the special one that her boss is looking for, and a couple of others will be unique enough that they’re worth taking onto the Antiques Roadshow to get appraised.
Before she can take the antiques onto the show to be evaluated by one of its esteemed experts, Julia has to refurbish it as best she can. This happens by way of mini-games that include searching for spare buttons in a drawer, stitching up a tear with a needle and thread, gluing cracks, and buffing the object until it shines.
The Antiques Roadshow interludes are brief dialogue scenes that play out exactly like they do on TV: Julia presents the antique to the expert, the expert talks about its history and points out interesting features, then reveals how much the item is worth – and it’s always a pleasant surprise!
Each level concludes by Julia taking the artifact she’s found back to the shop and using the decoder ring to open it. Inevitably there’s a scrap of paper inside that gives a clue about what to do next.
The scenes you’re presented with to search – a farmhouse attic, an old train station, a storage shed – typically look like hoarders have set up shop there but nothing is terribly out of place. You’ll search for things like old televisions, tattered flags, cigarette cases and flintlock rifles – items that have been carefully chosen to fit in with their surroundings in keeping with the theme. In one of my favorite little touches, too much random clicking overwhelms the player in a cloud of dust that you have to wipe away with the mouse before you can continue. (Anyone who’s actually had to clean out a storage locker or attic knows the feeling all too well…)
Antique Roadshow‘s drawback is perhaps that it’s a little too timid. The game’s format is formulaic in the extreme, unlike other HOGs that shake things up every so often to keep players on their toes. There are some inventory item puzzles and the ability to move freely between locations but the challenge it offers is pretty shallow: using a sledgehammer to break the lock on a storage shed, for example.
You’ll revisit the same scenes frequently, but you’ll have different items to find each time so it’s not so bad. Scenes are untimed with an unlimited number of hints. You can skip the mini-games too, if you prefer – and you probably will after a while since they’re all rather basic and repeat themselves.
Antiques Roadshow doesn’t have the most thrilling story, and it won’t prove terribly challenging for experienced hidden object gamers, but it stays true to what it sets out to do: namely, immerse the player in the world of antique hunting.