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Six Words About Casual Games
by Lewis Pulsipher on 12/14/11 02:10:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

According to Tweetdeck, one of the trending:worldwide topics on Twitter is 6 word stories.

I've asked for 6 words about game designers, 6 about programmers, and 6 about wargames, with interesting results.  Now I want to ask about another type of game.

Can you say in 6 words what makes casual games interesting--or not?  (And you'll have to decide what "casual games" are.)


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Comments


Gerald Belman
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Soylent Farmville is Sheeple . . . SHEEPLE!!!

Luis Guimaraes
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Gemcraft.

Will Ooi
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Addictive fads requesting credit card access

Luis Guimaraes
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Canabalt.

Matthew Cooper
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My mom is overjoyed. Me, eh...

Luis Guimaraes
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Homerun in Berserk Land.

Maurício Gomes
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Shovelware for incredibly dumb people masses.

Luis Guimaraes
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Ultimate Assassin.

Maurício Gomes
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I used dumb because people usually say casual games are "dumbed down"

Maurício Gomes
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You are assuming everyone has the same personality type as you.



What make a person like casual game is not if the person is dumb, or inexperienced, it is how a person perceive the world.



30% of the population like to perceive the world with intuition, they like the abstract, they can immerse themselves in the game world, they like the inernal, and the game unites with their mind.



The other 70% are of the sensing type, what matters to them is the concrete, and the external, to them game is only a past-time, what matters is learn the rules, play a bit, and then go do something else in the real world.





There are a guy here in gamastura that has a nice blog about this subject, but I forgot his name (I think is Bart)

Maurício Gomes
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Yes, after writing this I saw he did replied to this post, search downard for Bart Stewart :) And click on his name and visit his blog.

Gary LaRochelle
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Boring games you can not lose.

Luis Guimaraes
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You Only Live Once.

Bart Stewart
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Simple fun that's easy to pause.

Luis Guimaraes
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Nice one Bart. I'd say:



"Same thing as every other game."



(Is it me or everybody else read "social games" instead of "casual games"?)

Bart Stewart
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I know what you mean, Luis. The term "casual games" seems recently to have turned into a code for "Facebook games."



"Casual" still gets translated in my head to "low investment." But then I'm still refusing to use the word "aggravated" like everyone else does to mean "annoyed," so there you go. :)

Luis Guimaraes
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Any "hardcore" game with a "horde mode", "time attack", "survival mode", "instant action", "new game+", "sandbox mode" or "play online" is automatically a casual game too.

Brad Borne
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Just need three:



Monetized thumb twiddling.

Luis Guimaraes
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Audiosurf.

David Pierre
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BUt that's six words anyway!

Alex Leighton
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Thinking too much gives you wrinkles.

Luis Guimaraes
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Manufactoria.

Lewis Pulsipher
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Yes, it does seem that some people have social networking games in mind specifically. Not all casual games are so mindless (nor are all free-to-play).

Yuliya Chernenko
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Addictive time-killing simple good-looking games.



Still, personaly I do not like them )

Carlo Delallana
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The Zombies, They're Coming! Brrraaahhh!

Luis Guimaraes
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True ^^

Joe Webb
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ok, here goes;



"Don't take your fun too seriously"

Nicholas Muise
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Cynical view:



Unhappy developers attempting to make money



Positive view:



Happy developers attempting to feed themselves

Nicholas Muise
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I kind of took some creative liberty and strayed slightly off topic, as did some others.

Aleksander Adamkiewicz
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a boot stamping on a human face — forever

Cary Chichester
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My mother is now a gamer.

Evan Skolnick
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They're called "users".

Joe Webb
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Elitist few sneering at uncultured peasants?

David Serrano
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Core gaming minus elitism and arrogance.

Chen Dai
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My Time Is Short. Play Quick

Ted Brown
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Good times! Had fun. Thanks. Next!

Devin Tasker
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Repackaging the quotidian with miraculous success.

Shay Pierce
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Everyone plays games. Everyone.

Jonathan Jennings
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smaller time investment, larger audience reach. I am a " traditional " hard core gamer I play those games the average human being hasn't heard of and play everything from RPG's to the mostp ure platforms. the appeal of casual games is that they tend to take a real-world concept that is streamlined and packaged ot be interesting yet a manageable for the typical human being.



it's like comparing clue and chess, chess has a deeper experience and is overall a much stronger and timeless game, however clue is overall a much simpler to attach to and hence tends to be more popular in the commercial sense.

Daniel Brogan
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Simple, hook(s), time-based, rinse/repeat. --- Games available on social networks.



An explanation in case anyone feels they should be offended for the "little guy":-



1. Simple: one basic interface operation that does everything - so in Farmville, Cityville etc (and all their clones), it's a single left-click to plow land/place a piece of road/plant something/build something (and on and on that list goes). The difficulty level never changes and remains as easy and as accessible as possible to even the simplest of users.



2. Hook(s): this will either be one hook or many hooks, so if you're into "pets" then you can buy virtual pets that you "must look after" and come back to do so. Or collect "rent", or clean your "pet", or build your "empire", compete in a VERY passive way with friends and so forth. It can also just be that you prefer building structures and roads over planting seeds.



3. Time-based: where a user will be required to come back to the "game" after a few minutes to a few days to perform basic maintenance tasks or accept "gifts" from their friends. Also known as the "come back"/"repeated visit" factor when it comes to website content.



4. Rinse/repeat: this will mean slightly different things to different people so: to a user, its doing the same mechanic over and over again. To the developer: change the "skin" of the game and repackage it as something "new".



Simple to play; hard to master. --- Pretty much everything else. A real game, in my opinion, is one where you can win AND you can lose (or at least get stuck with a puzzle without some pay-for option to skip that one puzzle, note: I'm not talking about unlocking the rest of a game) based on your own ability, although challenge is something that will change from player to player.



It will be easy to comprehend (be it walking about in a 3D world, using the mouse to change the perspective etc) but hard to master (some will only be mastering the interface at first, let alone the few rules or guidelines of play) and may or may not require the player (again, depending on their ability and also on their experience level) to develop themselves just that little bit in order to play and then the "challenge" aspect comes in...which, if the game is well made, will remain throughout until the game's conclusion.

Luis Guimaraes
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Social games != Casual games.

Lewis Pulsipher
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Less challenging for entertainment and relaxation

Fewer choices for entertainment and relaxation

Simple puzzles for entertainment and relaxation

Less challenging, fewer choices, simple puzzles


none
 
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