The Mystery of the Hidden Gamer: Women, Leisure, and Hidden Object Games

Shira Chess


Hidden object games are a rarely remarked upon subgenre of casual gaming. This lack of larger discussion is understandable: the games have seemingly repetitive play, predictable storylines, and subtle variations between them. This paper identifies deeper meaning and context to the hidden object game, by considering how the games create corollaries between women’s leisure in the real world and the activities of the game world. Through analyzing the game play and narrative, I illustrate how the hidden object game constructs an ambiguous form of leisure that replicates domestic and emotional labor. Ultimately, this paper identifies the woman player as “hidden” through the game’s complex modes of subjectivity and player embodiment.

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