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What does casual games REALLY mean?

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Previous Entry What does casual games REALLY mean? Apr. 30th, 2010 @ 03:14 pm Next Entry
 A few months ago I got a discount for Bigfish games, a "casual" site... I was curious and I went to the site... And I've actually played a "casual" game or two... or three.... or enough to get one free.... :P

The thing about the term "casual" is that it's a BUZZWORD used by game companies to say that the game is not a "scary hardcore game"...

According to Wikipedia, casual games are simple and lack the commitment of hardcore games.... Which is entirely wrong!

No commitment? Have you played some of these "casual" games? Some have TWO HUNDRED PLUS LEVELS!  That's more commitment that almost every retro game!

Speaking of which, according to Wikipedia, simple games are "casual", but.... Almost every retro game is simple.... Even Mega Man is simple to play! Even some bullet hell games are "simple"!

"HEY! Those are very hard games, Mike! Casual games are EASY!", you say? WRONG! I've actually played casual games and while many of them are rather easy, they are also lots of them that made Contra look easy...

Like I said, "casual" is a buzzword, and some people love it, while others hate it....

The "hater" says:  "There is no casual gaming. There is just a different way to play." which kinda makes sense...

Hardcore games are known for playing games in LARGE chunks, so does this mean casual gamers play in smaller chunks? 

The closest thing I can think of a definition of casual gamer is someone who simply plays less, but.... Many of these are extremely enthusiastic gamers and just don't have more time to play. I know "hardcore gamers" that barely play games and I've seen people who claim to be casual play games in one go.... So, close... but no cigar!

But then it hit me.... 

First, let's take out Nintendo out of the equation, "casual sites" never mention them and their games are more of family party games than "casual"....

Most people consider casual the opposite of hardcore... so let's take that in consideration...

Big Fish Games is apparently the place to go for casual games and look at the most popular games....

The average hardcore game either has a burly man or a scantily-clad lady, the average "casual game" has a young female with realistic body and actual clothes, so far, so good...

Hardcore games tend to be very violent and gory, while "casual" games never have any blood in them...

But that's not enough, there are many non-violent games with a non-harlot female lead...

..... If you visit the list of the the top 100 casual games sold, it's pretty obvious what, at least, Big Fish Games considers to be casual games....

Weddings, love.... VAMPIRE ROMANCE.... Do I need to spell it out? Let's just say there is no such thing as a manly "casual" game... 

Casual is a stupid term, but calling them "girly games" is worse, but if you think about it's obvious that hardcore games are catering to the frat boys and "manly men", while "casuals" cater to females.... Is it sad? Is it pathetic? Maybe, but if you just look at the most popular titles of each "group" you can't help but to notice the obvious... 

But... it's a buzzword, and like all buzzwords people will use it without thinking or knowing what it really means.... :|
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From:tedprior
Date:May 1st, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
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a) Casual games opened the doors to a female market that was previously under-catered for and found that actually there are females interested in playing casual came, and of course that has lead to a large number of casual games being targeted to this previously un-tapped market, but to say there's no such thing as a "manly" casual game is absolute nonsense.

b) You can't take Nintendo out of the equation just because sites that would have no reason to reference them don't, I can tell you right now that gaming sites such as joystiq, kotaku etc etc all make plenty of references to Nintendo being for a more casual gaming market. It seems to me the only reason is exclude them is because they don't support your argument.

c) Your sample set is flawed - bigfish sell games that they have the rights to, so if they have a female audience, they will cater to that audience. You won't find Tetris on the list because they don't offer it for sale.

If you really hate the word casual gaming so my I would propose the term "inclusive gaming," because that is what it is.
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From:tanukitsune
Date:May 1st, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
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-Well, if there is such a thing as a "manly frat boy" casual game then tell me about it, because I've never heard of such a thing!

-Did you hear what I said about buzzwords? And did you read those articles I linked (although one of them is the one you gave me)? There are people high up in Nintendo that don't believe they are causal.

Not to mention they don't fit the Wikipedia definition, Animal Crossing is basically an MMO, and MMO require huge investments of time. The rest are party games that are meant to be played with others...

Casual games are the evolution of the coffee break game, and Nintendo games don't fit the definition...

Puzzle games are a grey area, while everybody would agree Bejeweled is casual and some would agree on Tetris, nobody will agree that Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is casual, but why is that? Because the media has used the buzzword with the first two, but not with the other...

Next Gen is a buzzword too, everybody says their games are next gen even though they are not, they do it to make something trivial seem important, which is what buzzword do...

-Like I said puzzles are a grey area, they don't have Tetris but they probably have a Tetris clone or two, because most casual games rip off classic games.

Insaniquarium rips off Shark Shark!, Super Granny rips off Lode Runner and they are quite a few Sokoban and Pang rip offs out there, but does this make retro games casual? Should casual games be simply defined as simple games?

Another thing that didn't seem to notice in the Wikipedia article is that most people consider casual games to be digital distribution only, so unless Tetris is on Wiiware it isn't casual...

But of course, this is silly because many of these games have came out on DS, like Diner Dash or Bejeweled... Are they no longer casual now? According to their own definition, they're not!

Casual is a nonsense buzzword and marketing people will spew it constantly to make us pay attention, if it isn't a nonsense buzzword then how come so many people argue about what is casual and what is not? I've never heard anybody saying Halo or Gears of War isn't hardcore, but many people would disagree on what is casual and what is not.... And it will continue to go on until we find a better definition... Something that doesn't contradict itself...

All I'm saying is that what most people consider to casual is focused to females, and I've yet to see one a frat boy would play....

What Nintendo does I would call "inclusive gaming", but I wouldn't call casual games inclusive, while many of them are gender neutral and can be enjoyed by all, I've played a few, many of them are made for females in mind.... Which doesn't mean a man can't enjoy them... I've played Sally's Spa and liked it.... ¬_¬

I just don't see men playing Love Chronicles or the Twilight rip-off... Although I'm tempted to try the demo for lulz... :B

I'm very finicky with words and definitions...

I don't consider Myst or it's sequels adventure games because they are only puzzles in them, if Myst is an adventure, then why isn't the 7Th guest or Pandora's Box one too?
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