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wildfire

Casual gaming

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I guess, in my situation, I feel like it's a casual game, and more generally that I'm a casual gamer, because of my living situation. I'm a girl living in a house with 3 guys, so I already feel like a bit of an outsider, and it doesn't help when they're playing MW2 online with their friends while I'm playing Pokemon and other kid-ish games.

But the thing is, my favorite games are ones that aren't realistic. I like cartoony games, cute games, puzzle games, stuff like that. I think I like the nostalgia of playing games that remind me of the stuff I liked when I was a kid.

I realize I'm still a gamer, but there's so many different types that it makes it seem like I still don't properly fit in with the people I know.

Bah.

It's not about fitting in, it's about enjoying the games. I know realism is the "in" thing these days, but it wasn't always. 16-bit and 32-bit games varied pretty widely from cutesy, to cartoony, to more realistic to violent as hell with eyebrow-perking levels of realism. And really, cartoony and puzzle games made up some of the most popular games long before this whole casual/hardcore cartoony/realism thing became so bloody important to people's gaming egos.

My personal favorite genre is shmups, which is a genre that has a rather large amount of variations in how they've been made. You've got the Parodius cutesy to the Under Defeat realistic. You've got Thunder Force III friendliness to Mars Matrix "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE THIS SHIT?!" insanity. Many different styles, but they're all shmups. If you play and enjoy Parodius, you're no less of a shmup lover than someone who studies the likes of DoDonpachi. This same mindset can easily be applied to gaming in general. Just because you like Pokemon and not GTA IV doesn't give others or yourself the license to put you on some imaginary lower tier.

You like different genres and there's nothing odd about that. What is odd, is that somehow "casual" has a become a genre that encompasses other genres... and it shouldn't. It's a catchphrase... something to separate what some people put under that banner from the rest of their gaming world because they're simply far too full of their opinions about what they like to play.

So rock that copy of Pokemon Heartgold girl and don't worry about fitting in. You already do, whether the MW2 and GoW2 crowd want to admit it or not.

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The only reasonable difference I can think of between "casual" and "hardcore" games would probably be learning curve, which is why puzzle games(Tetris and Hexic, not Braid or PB Winterbottom) are somehow lumped into the group. They're not games that are designed to pull you in to a huge and immersive world with a linear progression and system within system of game mechanics.

You make the blocks fit with eachother and you win. That's it. A monkey could be trained to do it, and that's what it really comes down to: Accessibility. If there's anything that 5 years of Psychology and personal experience is that people are generally dumb, impatient, and can't be assed to read a TV manual, much less learn how to micromanage units in Starcraft. "Casual" is just a short way of saying "So easy, a caveman could do it".

Does this somehow demean the games themselves? Are they any less of games for it? Hardly. I'll echo my previous statement. If it's fun, that's all that should matter. If playing something simple helps you unwind, then more power to you. I know that while I love games with complex, skill-based systems and flashy graphics, sometimes I need something simple.

Pokemon is pretty intensive as far as games go. Calling it a game just for kids is pretty deceptive, and if you like games that might not be as brown and full of bloom lighting, who cares? Play what you want, and if they have an aversion to a game just because "it has kiddy graphics", well it's their loss.

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You make the blocks fit with eachother and you win. That's it. A monkey could be trained to do it, and that's what it really comes down to: Accessibility. If there's anything that 5 years of Psychology and personal experience is that people are generally dumb, impatient, and can't be assed to read a TV manual, much less learn how to micromanage units in Starcraft. "Casual" is just a short way of saying "So easy, a caveman could do it".

Do you realize how many FPS, shmups, beat'em ups and racing games can fit under that? :lol:

See, that's one of my problems with "casual" and "hardcore"... the terms are so broad and at the same time generic, that they mean almost nothing except to those who try and define them in such a way as to make their aspect of gaming sound better in their own ears. They're just... borderline nonsense.

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What kind of cheap psychological tricks are unique to Farmville/Mafia Wars that are not unique to most other games like Bejeweled or Peggle? (or World of Warcraft, or Heroes of Newerth or Team Fortress 2 or Mass Effect)

I would say the difference is not in the techniques used, but in the end result.

Peggle is just as addictive as World of Warcraft - I've sunk dozens of hours into Peggle and still get a thrill when I beat a challenge or get a full clear. However, my total investment into Peggle is about $60. $20 for Peggle, $20 for Peggle Nights a couple years later, and a further $20-$30 for Peggle DS.

The cost sunk into World of Warcraft though....ooogh.

One provides entertainment and keeps me playing by using the psychological tricks, and gets me to buy the sequel. The other uses the tricks to keep you playing and extracts money from you constantly while you're playing. There is a fee associated with playing WoW or any other MMO, and many of these supposedly "free" online games use those same tricks to get you to buy shiny armor or a pretty hat. That was the concept behind shareware games, and it's how many so-called casual games make up their revenue streams.

An iconic example of this is Gunbound, which ran for years and made a bundle of cash despite being totally free. The number of people I saw with $50-$100 worth of costume jewelry (that didn't even affect the gameplay of the zone I was in) always amazed me. I can only assume the "avatar bonuses ON" zone was even worse in this regard.

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Do you realize how many FPS, shmups, beat'em ups and racing games can fit under that? :lol:

I know people who freaked out about there being a timer in a certain area in a game. Trust me, needs to be something really simple.

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An iconic example of this is Gunbound, which ran for years and made a bundle of cash despite being totally free. The number of people I saw with $50-$100 worth of costume jewelry (that didn't even affect the gameplay of the zone I was in) always amazed me. I can only assume the "avatar bonuses ON" zone was even worse in this regard.

That is neither casual gaming nor hardcore gaming. That is idiot gaming.

Loved Gunbound though. OCR Gunbound random-select tourney, anyone?

But after years of hearing those terms on the Web and in real life, it's simply reached the point where I just want to strangle people. Those terms rank right up there with "real" when talking of gamers.

Fair enough. But the same anger at the supposed delineation between "casual" and "hardcore" can also be applied to the distinction made between "gamer" and "non-gamer", hence the first half of my post. If you can't precisely define it, it's better left unused.

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There are a lot of articles online about this; I've read a number on the topic, but often times I end up clicking links within the article (or at the end) to other websites and don't bookmark them or remember who the author is. I suggest starting at www.Sirlin.net and reading his GDC articles, as well as the talk by Jesse Schell which he links to, and the response to that piece. There are elements of external rewards in games like WoW, but Farmville's design literally revolves around getting the user hooked on external rewards and encouraging them to spend as much money as possible to get such rewards.

Damn you've managed to totally put the onus on me to look up and explore these things on my own time.

I was curious if the psychological aspects had to do with gaming, or had to do with spending money, specifically. Because there are a lot of elements that I would think are common to almost all modern games, like positive reinforcement, low barriers to entry, etc.

My personal definition of "hardcore" vs. "casual" is an attitude toward the game rather than a time commitment. In my opinion, a "hardcore" person is willing to spend time practicing, studying and analyzing data, as well as going through numerous repetitions and experiments, to become "good" at some element of the game. A casual person doesn't care about those things.

It's the same criteria I'd use to describe someone who plays soccer or does research or some other activity. Most people don't agree with my definition though.

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Fair enough. But the same anger at the supposed delineation between "casual" and "hardcore" can also be applied to the distinction made between "gamer" and "non-gamer", hence the first half of my post. If you can't precisely define it, it's better left unused.

Well, if you'll forgive the mini rant that's sure to follow, gamer and non-gamer is a simple one in my eyes...

If you hate video games, don't touch them and see no point in their existence, then you're a non-gamer. That's no insult, it simply means video games have no place in your life and you spend no time with them as a result.

If you play games and find them to be of at least some fun once in a while, you're a gamer. You don't have to log hours a week into the things, you can just play a little here or a little there once in a while. Again, no insult. It simply means that you find them reasonably enjoyable to at least some degree.

The difference between those two terms and casual/hardcore for me, is gamer/non-gamer can be clearly defined. A or B. Just ask them, "Do you play video games at all?" and the answer's found. Hardcore/casual turns into this bizarre mathematical equation pulled out of someone's ass that has no real, reliable definition or set of variables. It gets even muddier when you start adding in games (hardcore puzzle game? Casual FPS? Casual hardcore player?) and arguing what qualifies as what. Those terms are based solely on opinion, where gamer/non-gamer is defined with a simple yes or no question. I know some people try and turn gamer/non-gamer into the same kind of nonsense as casual/hardcore, but it's not.

Again, to me anyway.

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That is neither casual gaming nor hardcore gaming. That is idiot gaming.

Depends how you look at it. Is someone that spends $50 on a Gunbound costume neccessarily stupider than someone who spends $50 of World of Warcraft monthly fees grinding instances to get a Tier 6 armor set?

Both are, when you get right down to it, "shinies". Meaningless bits of data that look cool.

Anyway, I wasn't really trying to separate out between casual and hardcore. I'm in full agreement that there's no such thing. I was really trying to address the difference between games that have an inherent "buy stuff!" portion and games that do not, and how while the psychological trick is the same, how it is used is significantly different. World of Warcraft is one of the worst offenders, and you don't get much more "hardcore" than the guys that lock themselves in a basement with the expansion and grind to max level in under a week.

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I'm finding myself agreeing with pretty much everything Coop has said so far. These terms are made up by marketing groups and gamers that seek to differentiate others for personal bias.

I've never believed in "hardcore" because it's total bullshit. No one can define hardcore to any solid, undeniable meaning. It changes based upon who you ask.

Casual is just the same: it's a meaningless, self-imposed title that doesn't fit into any generally recognized definition.

The best part (if you like seeing people act like robots) or worst part is that almost all of the people that strongly cling to these vague, wildly inaccurate terms do so simply because they heard them used at some point by someone else. they hardly ever came to such a conclusion by themselves. It's like they didn't even bother thinking about the basic concept before completely swallowing it.

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The cost sunk into World of Warcraft though....ooogh.

ha I've only spent $20 on World of Warcraft and i have a lvl 60 already.

all I'm doing is farming these days.

(lol I'm actually playing it right now)

But that just goes to show you it's about the player not the game.

Even something as "hardcore" as World of Warcraft can be Conquered in a matter of weeks.

On a side note I'm probably not going to pay for anymore playtime for a while,

because 1 I'm kind of poor and 2, I want to take a break from it for a little while (my Xbox is starting to give me dirty looks :P)

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I'm finding myself agreeing with pretty much everything Coop has said so far. These terms are made up by marketing groups and gamers that seek to differentiate others for personal bias.

I've never believed in "hardcore" because it's total bullshit. No one can define hardcore to any solid, undeniable meaning. It changes based upon who you ask.

Casual is just the same: it's a meaningless, self-imposed title that doesn't fit into any generally recognized definition.

The best part (if you like seeing people act like robots) or worst part is that almost all of the people that strongly cling to these vague, wildly inaccurate terms do so simply because they heard them used at some point by someone else. they hardly ever came to such a conclusion by themselves. It's like they didn't even bother thinking about the basic concept before completely swallowing it.

That is the underlying problem with gamers, and game journalists, a large majority are too stupid to think for themselves, or even do honest journalism (none seem to in any media at all). I'll be frank, I hate this part of gaming this generation, determining casual/hardcore, it would be one of the big things I'd gladly take behind the barn and beat to death, along with paying for DLC already on the disc, maybe DLC altogether...

Take for example Mario Bros. Wii, the analysts and journalists labeled it a casual title, what sense did that make? That game was tough! Sure I beat in a few weeks, but it was far from casual, that was an attempt at labeling the game so that it wouldn't sell, but funny how that worked out, huh game industry? In fact, that game had something going for it, and that was arcade style gameplay.

I find myself further and further against the game industry and all of it's bull. I hope more and more are catching on to it, and get past the pretty graphics and "production values", and see what really seems to be missing from games these days, content, and replayability, and I'm not talking about worthless Achievements/Trophies, actual content. People pay $60 for a game, they should get what they deserve for putting out that much cash. God I hate going off topic!!

To try and label gamers is like being blind and pointing at an object, and saying what color it is. It's pointless and stupid, just like the metaphor I just tried to make. :roll:

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The difference between those two terms and casual/hardcore for me, is gamer/non-gamer can be clearly defined. A or B. Just ask them, "Do you play video games at all?" and the answer's found. Hardcore/casual turns into this bizarre mathematical equation pulled out of someone's ass that has no real, reliable definition or set of variables. It gets even muddier when you start adding in games (hardcore puzzle game? Casual FPS? Casual hardcore player?) and arguing what qualifies as what. Those terms are based solely on opinion, where gamer/non-gamer is defined with a simple yes or no question. I know some people try and turn gamer/non-gamer into the same kind of nonsense as casual/hardcore, but it's not.

The transience in the labeling is the problem, and I'm surprised you haven't seen it. It's nearly the same as labeling someone as sinner/non-sinner. Are you a gamer if you pick up a game for a short while? Are you no longer a gamer if you put down games for a short while?

These are silly terms meant to categorize. Why adhere to them at all? Why not ask a more meaningful question? Instead of trying to ascribe a label, why don't you ask "how often do you play x game?". That will give you all the information you need.

Casual FPS?

Ah hahahahahahaaa.

Depends how you look at it. Is someone that spends $50 on a Gunbound costume neccessarily stupider than someone who spends $50 of World of Warcraft monthly fees grinding instances to get a Tier 6 armor set?

I do not play WoW so I do not understand the reference. If, however, the WoW reference entails paying someone to do grinding in your stead and earn you said armor, then you are guilty of what I consider tantamount to slave labor. Read: China.

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I'm finding myself agreeing with pretty much everything Coop has said so far. These terms are made up by marketing groups and gamers that seek to differentiate others for personal bias.

I disagree that it's simply for personal bias.

It is possible to put a bunch of people together in the same room, put a bunch of people together in a different room, and then ask them to play a game against each other to win.

Unless you sample the populations from a pretty homogenous group, you're going to have some pretty vast differences within teams.

- The people who want to win, and who try to organize their teammates so that they'll win

- The people who are there just to enjoy the game

- The people who try to dispense a strategy for others to follow

- The people who don't want to be there because they don't like the idea of killing other humans in a game

Among others. It's a continuous spectrum, but I bet that if you position these two teams against each other for an hour it'll be not that hard to decide which ones are "hardcore" and which ones are "casual".

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The transience in the labeling is the problem, and I'm surprised you haven't seen it. It's nearly the same as labeling someone as sinner/non-sinner. Are you a gamer if you pick up a game for a short while? Are you no longer a gamer if you put down games for a short while?

These are silly terms meant to categorize. Why adhere to them at all? Why not ask a more meaningful question? Instead of trying to ascribe a label, why don't you ask "how often do you play x game?". That will give you all the information you need.

Sins are subjective. What one sees as a sin, another may not. But whether of not you play video games is simply fact. You either do, or you don't. It's also a fact that can change, not unlike saying the light is on, now it's off. It's based on the moment and can change while remaining completely true with each change.

For me, labels are something that's not in the most positive of lights. No one likes to be labeled, as they're usually based more around opinions and judgments than any kind of fact. Hardcore and casual are labels, as they're opinion-based. What's hardcore? What's casual? To make those terms factual, you'd have to get everyone to 100% agree on their definitions... and that ain't gonna happen :lol:

But facts are simply truth. The light's on, the light's off. It's not labeling to state those truths, as there's no opinion involved. I'm a male, I eat, sleep, take a piss, etc. Facts. And if someone plays video games, they'd be a gamer. Why? Because as far as I know, "gamer" came from "someone who plays video games." It was shortened to "video gamer" and then finally reached "gamer." With this understanding, being and not being a gamer is just fact. And to me, not a label.

I know not everyone will agree with this, but that's how I see it... which I guess makes at least parts of it my opinion and will likely result in a "divide by zero"-like disastrous outcome as everything I've typed up collapses in on itself.

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It's a continuous spectrum, but I bet that if you position these two teams against each other for an hour it'll be not that hard to decide which ones are "hardcore" and which ones are "casual".

Except what makes them "hardcore" and "casual"? That's the key issue here. What makes anyone fit into either group?

Playing to win isn't it, because there are those that play with a lot of skill but only like to goof around (for instance, some griefers. I've seen some people play like they were some sort of super-ninja, only to throw the match for the pure fun of it).

Playing for fun isn't either, because there are people that like to play games, not for the enjoyment of it, but simply because they want to either say truthfully they played it, or they want to speedrun it, or they're completionists... Does not enjoying it make hem less hardcore and more casual? And yes, people like this do exist. Completionists are a sort of OCD, and speedrunners, while they might enjoy the game, aren't doing it for the sake of playing but for showing their skill at the game.

I just can't find any real point to "hardcore" and "casual" labels, even if they are used in only the lightest of terms.

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It seems that in the video game community the word "casual" has lost all meaning and instead been turned into a generic insult.

I've always really disliked the use of the terms hardcore and casual, for precisely the reasons many others have already posted here. It's pretty cool to see I'm not the only one who thinks this.

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As I see it, any game can be serious/hardcore if it can make you feel horrible after doing something wrong or losing. Tightly-balanced competitive online games tend to bring this out the most if you ask me. Casual games either are too easy to lose, or if you do lose, you don't feel any negative impact because of it.

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Posting to say: Coop wins.

Also to vote in the wrong thread that the next 1 April be OverCooped ReMix day.

What better way to celebrate the anniversary of the new system than by turning it into a wereputer? It'd be... killer?

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Also to vote in the wrong thread that the next 1 April be OverCooped ReMix day.

Oh wow, that's awesome. Yes, let's do that. Really. Do it.

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