April 12, 2006

Blog/Forum Posts of Note

by Andrew Stern · , 2:49 pm

5 Responses to “Blog/Forum Posts of Note”

  1. michael Says:

    Interesting that Matt spanks the casual game market for being an anti-creative force for games.

    Whenever I write a column like this I get deluged with emails reminding me – as if I didn’t know – that Barbie Horse Adventures sold better than Darwinia . Yes it did. Barbie Horse Adventures also got a wider release and has a broader appeal than Darwinia , attracting the ever-lucrative creativity leech that is the casual market.

    While it’s true that the Bejeweled clones abound, within the indy scene there’s alot of discussion about casual games being a market savior for indy gaming. Non-hardcore gamers may be more open to alternative gameplay, and the size and production values of casual games don’t require huge, expensive teams. But Matt seems to think that the casual game player has just as narrow expectations (if not more so) than the hardcore gamer, just lower-budget expectations. I suppose Matt’s criticism is fair if you look at the bulk of what’s actually produced in the casual game space rather than what could be produced (but that’s true of games in general).

  2. Ian Bogost Says:

    I agree with Matt. In fact, I just blogged about this very thing last week.

  3. michael Says:

    In discussions of casual games in the context of indy gaming, several notions of “casual” or conflated. I guess the concepts around “casual” that indy makers like are the idea that “casual” games are relatively small, can be produced by small teams, can be self-distributed via the internet, and appeal to non hardcore gamers. The first three attributes lower the economic risks and barriers to entry of trying out new things, and the last attribute means that new game ideas won’t be discarded out of hand just because they’re not following the conventions of a well-established genre. This sense of the word “casual” doesn’t say anything about what a casual game actually is, it just specifies some contraints on the production and distribution strategies and on the desired market segment(and this last it only denotes by negation – casual games are bought by people who don’t buy traditional games – but who is that?). But Matt and Ian are suggesting that this looser, more vauge notion of “casual”, which was really being used as a way to give market credibility to inexpensive games with a novel-enough design that there is no pre-existing gamer market, has been replaced with Casual, a particular game genre involving the puzzle-like manipulation of brightly colored objects. So perhaps it’s time for indy gaming to drop the term and find another one.

  4. nad Says:

    Why not see “casual” games as what the name says: games which can be
    played casually in your lunch break, between meetings, between waiting
    for the washer to finish etc. I.e. games which are rather short or
    which are easy to pick up again, which are not too involving and
    mind boggling for a too long attention span ?(….but which are entertaining
    enough to get some attention…:) )
    A casual gamer would be a gamer playing casual games. Which does not exclude
    that she plays also other games.

    In this way the terminology is apriori detached from the indy vs industry discussion.

    Of course a small and short game (which is OFTEN a casual game according to the above way to see it)
    is more feasible for an indy game developper
    (look at Tetris :-)) but it doesnt need not to be the speciality
    of indy developpers or a special customer type alone.

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