It might not look like it, but this is going to be a sad Grinding Down post.
Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville, from what I can tell, is one of the last games my mother got to play on her Nintendo DS before she passed away this past December. I remember the day Tara, my sister Bitsy, and I went out searching for Sunnyville at Momma Dukes’ request; we had to even ask the GameStop employee if he had any clue of its existence as I couldn’t find it among the thousands on the shelves. Somehow, he did though, and we got it for her, knowing that it, at the bare least, was a bit of light and distraction during chemotherapy. It’s not a great, amazing game, but it is of the ilk that she loved: finding hidden objects. Her collection has several others from this breed, and she always devoured them within a few days, and then I’d play them after her, and we’d make fun of the lame attempt to add a story to these things and just agree that finding random objects on a random photo brimming with randomness would be more than enough.
And that all basically applies with Sunnyville, too. It’s attempt at a story is modest, but still hilariously unnecessary: you’ve just moved into the neighborhood, into a very empty house, and you decide to scour your neighbors’ yard sales for key items to spruce up your house and possibly win the Superstar Homes magazine contest. And that’s what you do. Go to a neighbor’s house, find items on a list, eventually whittling it down to one or two pivotal ones, find those, and move on. Once you’ve got enough room dressing to complete a section of your house, you’ll see a “before and after” shot of the room, rest up for the night, and start all over again the next day. You need to complete eight rooms, which takes eight days, which really takes…I don’t know. I played this game with little drive, here and there, finding a few items during my lunch break and so forth. My Nintendo 3DS says I logged just under 3 hours in the game; that sounds about right.
My mother played Sunnyville twice, completing it fully both times. I know this because of the three save slots available, two are in her name. I’m not sure if a second playthrough is any more different than the first. I’m glad she got a lot out of it though. Once she was finished with Sunnyille, she passed it along to my wife, Tara, with a short, hand-written note:
Naturally, I miss my mom. Playing this game didn’t do anything to lessen the hurting in my heart; it only allowed me to follow in her proverbial touchscreen taps, relax with a game that helped her relax, escape elsewhere momentarily. Again, not a great game, but one I’m emotionally connected with, hung up on. Would sure love to know what Momma Dukes thought about all the punny names for the neighbors as they got me to even groan every now and then. I can’t wait to see her again.