Hidden object games are a sub-genre of adventure/puzzle games in which the player is given a list of items that must be found in a static scene. Many hidden object games are budget or downloadable titles that cater towards the more casual audience.
The idea of hidden object scenes was made popular by books before video games. The I Spy and Where's Waldo franchises were very popular with kids in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both of these franchises have had video game adaptations.
Many hidden object games will also add in puzzle game elements to break up the game, sometimes including items found within the scene. Sometimes the hidden object gameplay is a small chunk of a larger game, while other times it is the bulk of the game.
While a majority of hidden object games use artist rendered backgrounds, some games such as Travelogue 360: Paris use real photographed backgrounds.
A common variant of hidden object games are "HOPAs": Hidden Object Puzzle Adventures. These include hidden object scenes as simply one of several different puzzle types, others including sliding blocks or jigsaws, and complements them with standard point-and-click adventure game inventory puzzles where you need to find and use the right items to proceed with the story. Many hidden object games produced by studios such as Artifex Mundi use the HOPA formula.
The hidden object game series Hidden Expedition spawned a real world line of jigsaw puzzles in which have objects hidden throughout that can be found when the puzzle has been put together.
More often then not, hidden object games use female protagonists.
Notable Hidden Object Franchises