When I was a child, the only joy in going to the dentist was picking up a copy of Highlights magazine and turning to the Hidden Pictures feature where odd little items — an iron, a fork — were tucked unexpectedly into an illustration. I also like puzzles that show two seemingly identical illustrations and that ask you to find 10 things that differ from one to the other.
A new feature on the Fine Homebuilding website, The Inspector, brings to mind that kind of challenging fun.
In The Inspector, you are asked to determine what is wrong with a particular jobsite. Perhaps there should be a double header above a window instead of a single header. Or perhaps a ladder is being used incorrectly. You pretend you are a building inspector and you look for errors. Could anything be more gratifying?
When you do spot a trouble area, you click on that spot. If you're right, the area lights up, tells you what's indeed wrong, and you earn 200 points. If you're wrong, and there is nothing amiss at that spot, you lose 50 points.
There are a few drawbacks to the game. First, there is no tally of violations to refer to when you are done. So you could click, click, click until the cows come home, and if you don't click on all problem areas, you'll never know where they all are.
Plus, some of the violations are hard to see, or seem to have been created by Photoshop manipulation. I think it would be a better game if an illustration was used or if jobsites with some real and obvious problems were featured.