The concept of luring players to press the "do something" button by having a flashy sprite could date back to the fourth generation consoles. It's not until the sixth generation, when the use of sprites receded, being replaced by 3d graphics that the developers had to find a way to avoid making players run around spamming the action button. This is when shiny sense was truly born.
One of the first examples of this trope in effect would be Resident Evil 1, but as only keys had the Shiny Sense, players were still stuck searching for all other items, only to be greeted with many instances of "It's all wet and useless," (referring to rope.)
In some genres this is replaced by the item spin of importance and upgrade. In other genres, and usually games with children as the targeted audience, a few seconds pass as the item is zoomed in upon to show its importance, location, and adding artificial game time expectancy. In this second example, it's usually stars.
See also Notice This.