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Struggling To Bridge the Casual-Hardcore Game Gap

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the need-more-retro-mega-man-titles dept.

XBox (Games) 185

With the advent of the Wii and the upcoming motion control systems from Sony and Microsoft, console makers are expanding the gaming population to include vast numbers of casual players. Their problem now, according to this editorial at Eurogamer, is that there doesn't exist a broad selection of games between the simple, introductory titles and the complex, hardcore ones, which tends to limit how deep new players will venture into the gaming ecosystem. Quoting: "... it needs software that spans the gap between the two camps of offerings which are emerging on Xbox 360 — games that encourage players of Dance Central or Your Shape to move upstream and explore. It's unlikely, perhaps, that they'll ever end up curb-stomping crinkle-faced nasties in Cliff Bleszinski's latest, but we're a long way past the point of the Xbox being all about shooting and driving, even if the public perception hasn't quite moved with the software line-up. The long-term challenge for the games market must, ultimately, be to emulate the success which other mediums have had in creating markets where consumers routinely and happily move between genres, and where franchises which would be pigeonholed as 'hardcore' in the games world nestle comfortably in people's DVD collections alongside those which would be dismissed as 'casual.'"

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friost?!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625694)

frist opstz!

Re:friost?!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626656)

How's about you losers bridge the gap between your little wieners and a girl's vagina instead of wasting your time fucking around wasting your time on stupid video games? Just saying

Whatever Happened... (3, Insightful)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625704)

to Tetris?

Re:Whatever Happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626508)

to Pong?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-1vRCzZYGY

Re:Whatever Happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626550)

to Tetris?

Nothing, I'd classify tetris as a casual game.

Has anyone considered... (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625718)

... casual gamers just aren't that interested in gaming to begin with? There doesn't need to be more "intermediate" games where casuals "graduate up" the gaming ladder. The truth is you are either invested in games or you are not, period.

Quite frankly I see this whole casual craze as a bubble that's going to pop.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625746)

There are hardcore games and hardcore gamers.
Sometime people play casual games hardcore.

Re:Has anyone considered... (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627550)

My thought on the matter is that "hardcore" pretty much means "hardcore buyer" now, nobody seems to care what those "hardcore" do with the games after buying them just as long as they keep buying anything that's hyped up or critically acclaimed. Casual gamers can't be arsed to put that much research and effort into buying games (note that that doesn't mean anything about what they do after buying the game, someone who only buys 3 games a year will likely play them much longer than someone who buys 3 a week), makes brand reputation much more important.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625806)

Repeat of 1983?

The only problem is I've been hearing people predict another gaming crash for the last ten years, and it still hasn't happened. Casual gamers seem to give their games like Darts or Pool - something to fill-in an evening but not something to take seriously (i.e. not a hobby). That market will never truly die out.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626106)

"Repeat of 1983?"

No, it's not going to be a repeat of 1983 but I think what they are going to find over the long term is that casual gamers aren't invested in *gaming* as a whole and after they've had their fun are going to find something else to do. I don't really think anyone keep the casual market long term it remains to be seen if current Wii owners that are primarily "casuals" and effectively non gamers for instance will want to buy wii 2.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627570)

I think we have no data to back that claim up other than the tautology that "casual gamers are casual" (yes but that doesn't show these people are actually casual gamers under this definition) and of course the occasional anecdote.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625936)

The truth is you are either invested in games or you are not, period.

That is a false dichotomy. The amount of interest a person has in games is different for each person.

Geeks often dismiss new technologies. Such as 3D TVs. 3D is here to stay and you will eventually be using it. The same goes to the Kinect. The Kinect is truly revolutionary and many otherwise informed people are dismissing it as a Wii clone. It surprises me how many people here on slashdot are poor at predicting what technologies will become commonplace the future.

Re:Has anyone considered... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626030)

X is here to stay and you will eventually be using it. The same goes for Y. The Y is truly revolutionary and many otherwise informed people are dismissing it as a Z clone. It surprises me how many people here on Slashdot are poor at predicting what technologies will become commonplace in the future.

See what I did there? Mega corporations marketing departments market these technologies as "gotta have it" to the general populus and they eat it up as they're intended to.

Anyway, just because the idiots like it and everyone will "eventually" use it, doesn't mean that it's crappy technology. Technology is an ends to a mean, not a mean in itself.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627262)

X is here to stay and you will eventually be using it. The same goes for Y. The Y is truly revolutionary and many otherwise informed people are dismissing it as a Z clone. It surprises me how many people here on Slashdot are poor at predicting what technologies will become commonplace in the future. See what I did there?

Yes, you did nothing. Replacing what I was referring to with letters achieves nothing. Such techniques should only be used when explaining a logical flaw in an argument. And I have mostly ignored any marketing efforts. When the Wii came out I was unimpressed (and still am) but when the Kinect was released I was able to recognize its brilliance.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626048)

Kinect is not a Wii clone. It an EyeToy clone. I must admit it's a little advanced than EyeToy but what you end up doing would be the same. There's even a game called "EyeToy Kinetic" if I remember.

Re:Has anyone considered... (4, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626178)

Kinect is truly revolutionary

Truly? Let me know when they make a version can detect hand motions.

Hell, let me know when they stop faking Kinect demos.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627070)

Thank you!

It's important that someone mention at least once per motion-controller/cacsual-gaming thread that Kinect can't see your hands. Don't forget to mention that you can't sit down, as well. I'm been ramming that awkwardly into the conversation for six months, because it blows my tiny mind so completely.

Stump arms, no sitting, and over 100ms of additional lag.

The real reason they won't do live demos is the crazy-limbs. If your hand gets near the edge of the Kinect frustum, or your feet get near the edge at the bottom, or your limbs block each other a little too much, or if you're a little too far away for Kinect to make you out well, or if your clothing doesn't scatter infrared well, your hands/feet/head/whatever Kinect is having trouble with will suddenly start flipping and flapping around violently within its physically allowable boundaries. If you walk too close to the camera and your legs are cut off, you may find your avatar smiling happily as his legs flap in the air like a windsock. It's gruesome.

The funny thing is, it has the smallest effect of actual gameplay. It looks weird when you first walk in front of the camera, and depending on what you're doing it looks ridiculous for a second or two at random now and then...

The stump arms, no sitting, and aggressive lag are the parts that make it nearly unplayable.

Re:Has anyone considered... (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626378)

"Geeks often dismiss new technologies."

You mean like the Sega CD, the 32X, the SNES Zapper, the power glove, virtual boy and R.O.B.?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.O.B [wikipedia.org] .

Not all technologies pan out. The Virtual boy was 3D and the original Gameboy was a black and white lcd.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626586)

"Geeks often dismiss new technologies."

You mean like the Sega CD, the 32X, the SNES Zapper, the power glove, virtual boy and R.O.B.?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.O.B [wikipedia.org] .

Not all technologies pan out. The Virtual boy was 3D and the original Gameboy was a black and white lcd.

I never claimed that all technologies panned out. When I said that geeks often dismiss new technologies, I meant that they thought the new technology was stupid or poor or bad in some way without giving it a proper evaluation.

Re:Has anyone considered... (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626398)

Are you sure about that? 3D TV may very well come along, but it's hardly an assumption that people should be making. 3D has been available to film makers for a half century and it still hasn't really taken off. From time to time there's a story which works better in 3D, but the reality is that most movies are already 3D in the mind of the viewer, We know what's close and what's far and adding 3D to that doesn't contribute a whole lot.

Likewise videophones were first demonstrated many decades ago and they still haven't taken off. The main reason being that except in extremely long distance communications like in and out of a war zone, people just don't want to have to put on pants and a shirt to take a telephone call.

I don't think Kinect will catch on to the extent that you do. It's cool, but I'm not sure that it'll truly overcome the problem of games being about escape. Nintendo had a controller back in the 80s which has been emulated a few times in games like DDR, but even that hasn't particularly caught on. The Wiimote has really come the closest, but I'm not sure if it's truly here to stay or not, it depends solely upon how much it adds to the game.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626722)

Are you sure about that? 3D TV may very well come along, but it's hardly an assumption that people should be making. 3D has been available to film makers for a half century and it still hasn't really taken off.

I disagree with that. Only recently has the technology become good enough (3D using polarization - those glasses with different coloured lenses as filters were a joke) at an affordable price.

From time to time there's a story which works better in 3D, but the reality is that most movies are already 3D in the mind of the viewer, We know what's close and what's far and adding 3D to that doesn't contribute a whole lot.

3D is to HD as HD is to standard definition. It takes it to the next level. It isn't about letting the viewer understand the distances better. It's about making it look better.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627574)

3D is to HD as HD is to standard definition

Ridiculously high priced, requiring a massive investment in all new equipment, and generally not worth the upgrade?

I'd totally agree.

I don't watch much in the way of TV or movies. But recently, I got to see some "high definition sports!!!!!!!". Really, when HD is lower quality than what the monitor on my desk gives me, for double the price, it's laughable. So far, I've been pretty unimpressed with HD. It's such a marginal upgrade that I'm amazed that the world has been suckered into it. Of course, there's nothing stopping 3-D from being taken up like HD, except a recession and the glasses. Fix those, (there was a "3-D without glasses story the other day here) and it might take off like HD.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627094)

It surprises me how many people here on slashdot are poor at predicting what technologies will become commonplace the future.

That is because they're more engaged in wishful thinking, rather than actually thinking.

Re:Has anyone considered... (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625990)

You're absolutely right. Casual gamers aren't investing in a console or a high-end graphics card just to play a few games when they have a little time to kill. The game companies need to offer enough interesting and leading edge content to get the "intermediate" gamers to "graduate up" their gaming ladder.

Casual gamers are looking for a low cost of entry, no subscriptions or long term commitments, and games that don't require hours and hour of their time. It's one of the reasons the low cost, easy to play smartphone type games are popular. Each one is only a few dollars and is available for immediate download. They've become a digital impulse item. No going to a store, and you don't have to go to a computer or even leave your couch. Just download, play and kill a few minutes here and there.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626136)

And yet, the same casual gamers want to use the same game to kill hours and hours of their time without becoming 'too repetitive'. Oh and forget about immediate downloads and start thinking about streaming play - there is nothing casual about waiting two hours for a game to download or about ordering a game for tomorrow.

So you need rather simple games that are flashy and easily capture attention, but don't require too much attention to succeed in the game. Games that allow you to sit down, do something for 15 minutes auto-save your progress and leave with a sense of accomplishment. Games where you can't loose things that you already have if you sit down to play drunk and fall asleep with the game running. Games that are free for trial use and download themselves onto you computer while its idle (according to you past preferences and within you pre-set bandwidth quota) and are ready to play the moment you have free time and then once you are hooked to a game, offer you additional level packs for a few bucks each. Different kinds of games for people with different types of thinking and logic - games for spatial thinkers, games for people that think via associations, people with visual thinking, ...

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626490)

I'm a former hardcore gamer(NES and SNES) who's looking to get back into casual gaming. The current generation of consoles and games are too expensive for my budget and mobile games suck because I don't want to squint at a small screen.

Solution? Playstation 2's and their games are now dirt-cheap and there are a lot of good ones, the Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid series being two examples.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627236)

I think everyone is defining "casual" and "core" not as amount of time people are putting into games, but the amount of thought. Needless to say, Final Fantasy and MGS are, no matter how you look at them, NOT casual games, and never will be. They are lengthy, complex games that take not only a player's time but patience and full attention. I would argue that those two series are pretty much the antithesis of casual gaming.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626634)

You're absolutely right. Casual gamers aren't investing in a console or a high-end graphics card just to play a few games when they have a little time to kill.

So what *do* they buy them for, because I have a hard time thinking of a household near me that doesn't have one? To put it in horribly stereotypical terms, mom gets in a bit of wii fit during the day, son and dad play multiplayer $sportgame and the daughter has better things to do anyway.

Of course it helps if there's a family member to spread the love a bit(sorry mom for getting you hooked on the DS).

Re:Has anyone considered... (5, Interesting)

berwiki (989827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625992)

I absolutely disagree with you.

As someone who used to be hardcore into ID Software FPS titles, now that I am an adult with more responsibilities, it is harder to dedicate that much time towards finding a another freaking Intel Item, hidden obscurely in some level somewhere.

If I cannot play for 15-20 minutes and abort where I am at, without suffering huge penalties, I am not going to ever finish that game.

I am much more interested in quick games on my iPad, but wouldn't mind if they had a little more depth. Save the super hardcore games for the high school kids, but give us more than Poppit.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626130)

"As someone who used to be hardcore into ID Software FPS titles"

But this statement is proof you are already invested in games themselves, you are still invested. Technically you aren't a casual gamer because you're invested already in games.

By invested in games I mean *interested enough* that it would take a lot to make your interest in games peter out.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626434)

But he's definitely not a hardcore gamer for the same reason that I'm not one. You're not particularly hard core if you can only play for a few minutes here and there and aren't rearranging things to play more. Nor are you a hardcore gamer just by virtue of being interested in more complexity harder game play.

Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but if you're average period of play is under a half hour and you're not doing multiple sessions per day, it's a pretty good guess that you're not hardcore. Not that that's bad, but it's just a fact of life that if you aren't willing/able to make sacrifices to play the games, then you're not hardcore by any reasonable definition.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626536)

But what you just said basically means these people are effectively _non gamers_. They've "grown out" of games and have *more important* things to be involved in. My whole point revolves around the level of involvement.

I don't think just because you play games x period of time means your "hardcore", you can play only one game (wow) a lot and that doesn't make you "hardcore" IMHO since your gaming breadth is nill.

The GP basically is saying he's lost interest in videogames, which is the whole point - you're not invested enough to make the commitment therefore one wonders if one could even qualify as a "gamer" at that level of involvement and whether there is solid long term revenue stream for gaming companies from such people.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627234)

But what you just said basically means these people are effectively _non gamers_. They've "grown out" of games and have *more important* things to be involved in. My whole point revolves around the level of involvement.

Your definitions are a bit interesting. I would say that people that play games are at least casual gamers by definition, and hardcore gamers are those that play 1 or more games intensely, generally being invested enough in the game to know the necessary moves and rules by heart.

However, games used to be playable by all, but "hardcore" players would generally be better at them and could go to some special content that you had to be willing to invest time in to beat or solve. They were completed for the sake of being completed and/or bragging rights. I think this type of game is much more rare these days, with games being either for those that invest many hours into a game or style of game, or the rest of us. IMNSHO this is a short-sighted losing proposition for the gaming industry as the effort of entry into their new products becomes so high that none but the hardcore gamers will buy them.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626786)

The simple fact is that games that require more time investment will get less played when the gamer gets real-world responsibilities when they are past their college age.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625996)

Nah, that's not the problem, the problem is a skill gap. If you are a good gamer, you can just sit down with any new game and figure it out immediately. You're already used to the mechanics, you're going to see something like Portal as an interesting innovation, not as a completely new user interface. A hardcore gamer has gone along with all the Civilization titles, so when the next one comes out, the learning curve will be short. For a casual gamer, who has never played any Civ title, it's going to be something completely new. When Starcraft II comes out, as another example, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to hold my own almost immediately in online play, but someone who has never played the game before will get trashed.

I'm not really sure this has to be a problem, because most games I've seen tend to have some kind of tutorial or ramp-up in the beginning to help noobs. But now that I think of it, on x-box, I can't think of any game that teaches you how to move around the same way the original Halo did, they all kind of assume you have a little basic understanding. I'm still not sure it's a real problem.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626076)

I think it's a social gap, not skills. Skills can be acuqired, with motivation, and motivation is created by social pressure.

Hardcore gamers are hardcore either because they've got no friends and games are a way to cope, or because their friends are hardcore also. So games are a core part of their social make-up.

Casual gamers don't care about the games, their friends neither.

To switch someone over from casual to hardcore, you need to change their friends, which is a tall order.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625998)

Last generation, I'd agree with you.

But then Wii Sports, Wii Fit and Wii Play came along and bitch slapped hardcore gamers. "Casual" games are here to stay. If anything, hardcore gamers are the ones in denial. Hardcore gaming sales have been decline for years and casual gaming is the only growth portion of the industry. (Last time I checked, Pokemon still continues to dominate sales charts while Halo 3/ODST, CoD:WaW/MW2 and Killzone 2/Resistance 2/Uncharted 2 have either disappeared or come crashing down from near/first place.)

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626282)

What bizarre alternate universe do you come from where Pokemon is a casual game instead of something with a massive world and complex gameplay which requires dozens of hours to finish?

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626288)

(Last time I checked, Pokemon still continues to dominate sales charts while Halo 3/ODST, CoD:WaW/MW2 and Killzone 2/Resistance 2/Uncharted 2 have either disappeared or come crashing down from near/first place.)

Modern Warfare 2 Sales [latimes.com] .

Yes, truly, hardcore games are not selling well. Sure, the industry might be having some troubles but I don't see the industry surviving without hardcore games. Casual games are a legitimate viable market but rarely do you see the record breaking sales in casual games.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627142)

Wii Play is a casual game ... but Pokemon is certainly not.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627150)

Pokémon games are long and complex. Just because it's aimed at kids (mainly) doesn't mean it's a casual game.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626028)

yep, same as the casual readers, casual exercisers, casual gourmets, casual sports fans. Oh, wait ...

Re:Has anyone considered... (4, Interesting)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626210)

I dunno man. The fact that there are 85 million Farmville players says something.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626334)

Yeah, that WoW servers go down way too often for whatever reason.

Re:Has anyone considered... (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626250)

I think the more likely situation is that there's a spectrum of gamers from casual to hardcore, with lots of people in between. RIght now, the people in between are quickly bored with casual games, but quickly frustrated with hardcore games. So, as the summary is saying, what gaming needs is more games like Game! [wittyrpg.com] , simple enough that anyone can pick them up and play without reading the manual, but with enough depth to actually keep people interested too.

Well it may depend (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626402)

See part of the problem is that I don't think there are two kinds of gamers. There seems to be this perception that everyone is either casual or hardcore. Casual gamers don't play games often, only play simple games, and so on. Hardcore gamers then spend all their time playing games, and play games as complex as they come.

That is way over simplified. How complex someone likes a game and how much they game are not linked. There are people who play casual games all the damn time, and there are people who love complex games but only can play occasionally.

Also, some people just need to be eased in to things. WoW is a great example. At the high end, it is a rather complex game. There is a lot to it. However when you start, it is simple as can be. You have a total of like 2 abilities, there's a friendly person with a big gold ! over their head to give you your first job, and your job is to go beat up some things that are right next to you. It is simple to get in to, gives you as much time as you like to figure things out, etc. It then slowly ramps things up as you play. You gin more abilities, your world becomes larger, your tasks more complex, more options become available, etc.

Seems to work well to the tune of 12 million subscribers. To be sure, there are plenty of "hardcore" types for whom the easy introduction was an annoyance. However, I know more than a few people who were not gamers, or didn't do MMOs that got in to WoW. The easy, fun, start was what it took to ease them in to the world.

So I think intermediate games are a great idea. Not just to try and "graduate" people, but because some people may just want more complexity than offered by casual games, but not so much as offered by some of the really complex ones out there. An example would be something like Civ Revolutions. Civ 4 is a great game, one of my favourite. However the thing is amazingly complex. You have so much data in that game, so much to consider, so much to look after. It is just more than some people can handle, even in a non realtime format. That doesn't mean they might not enjoy a game like that, just means a more simplified version could be good, hence Civ Rev, which did quite well.

Re:Has anyone considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626682)

The intermediate games already exist, although many are "retro" games. Most of them didn't have mandatory secrets, the secrets were just bonus points. Most of them were easy to start playing, didn't require reading pages of rules because most of the controls were basic directional controls with 1 or 2 buttons. Casual gaming meant playing until the game was over, well, maybe play another game. Hardcore gaming meant playing until the game was beaten or looped, trying for perfection in every one of the game levels.

Even the earlier games such as Asteroids, Pac-man, Missile Command, Centipede, etc. could be played casually, but once a person got far enough in the game it certainly became hardcore to at least some extent.

Re:Has anyone considered... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626970)

ANAL FETUS

The gap is permanent (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625738)

The gap is permanent. As a casual gamer I know this because once in a while when I try to play some "advanced" game I find that just learning the rules and controls takes more time than I meant to spend playing the game, so I give up and go back to a simpler game I already know. We don't all have the time to devote to "advanced gaming", you know... Even when I was a kid I didn't have that kind of time available for such frivolity. Work, work, work!

Re:The gap is permanent (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625844)

Ditto. Especially when there are more interesting things to do, like read slashdot or watch the latest SyFy.com episodes. Unfortunately I have a lot of games laying-around (Kingdom Heart 2, Final Fantasy 12) that I WANT to play but just never set-aside the time.

Re:The gap is permanent (2, Insightful)

soilheart (1081051) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625976)

I think you are right.
Especially talking about the controls.

As somebody said in an article, the gamers today have been slowly brought up with more and more buttons and controls:
NES had 2 Buttons => SNES which had 6 buttons => Playstation 8 buttons (and later analogue joysticks with two "buttons") and so on.
I mean I had some trouble to use two buttons when I was small, but going directly for 8? Half impossible if you ask me...

Re:The gap is permanent (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626472)

That's what I hated about Halo, unless you own the console or live with somebody that does, the controls alone are formidable. Good luck trying to have an enjoyable experience without spending a lot of time on it.

One of the things I like about Wolfenstein 3d, the Catacombs Abyss and Doom was that the game play was simplified. Admittedly that was a decision driven entirely by technological restraints, but not having to use a mouse, and only having to worry about 3 buttons, plus the movement and weapon change made things a lot more fun. Sure it wasn't technically accurate, however it did simplify getting into it and make it a lot less daunting to get involved with things like deathmatches.

Re:The gap is permanent (1)

shimage (954282) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626134)

Perhaps you are too casual a gamer to know what the bridge games are? You could have educated yourself simply by reading the article, but I'll mention a couple of them here: Mario Kart Wii and New Super Mario Bros.

I was going to make a reference to The Shining here, but Slashdot's lameness filter put an end to that ...

Re:The gap is permanent (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626244)

Perhaps you are too casual a gamer to know what the bridge games are? You could have educated yourself simply by reading the article, but I'll mention a couple of them here: Mario Kart Wii and New Super Mario Bros.

No interest in "Mario", sorry. That's what I call Dork City.

Re:The gap is permanent (3, Interesting)

LupusUF (512364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626248)

I'm with you on that. I enjoy games, but at 30 I have a very busy life and only have so much time to play games. I work 50 hours a week, have a girlfriend (who will play rock band and guitar hero, but thats about it), and friends that want to go out. I just don't have the same amount of time to play games that I did 10 years ago (or at least I don't prioritize the same amount of time to gaming anymore).

I find myself playing games that I can pick up for 30 minutes at a time and put down. If it has a save system that I can save anywhere I'm more likely to play it. I really enjoyed the bioshock games, though it took me ages to beat them because I played them in short spurts. If a game has a checkpoint system where I have to get to a certain place before saving, I can guarantee that I won't keep playing it.

Re:The gap is permanent (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626258)

The gap is permanent. As a casual gamer I know this because once in a while when I try to play some "advanced" game I find that just learning the rules and controls takes more time than I meant to spend playing the game, so I give up and go back to a simpler game I already know. We don't all have the time to devote to "advanced gaming", you know... Even when I was a kid I didn't have that kind of time available for such frivolity. Work, work, work!

I would say it's less about time devoted to learning any particular game than it is about how quickly you can learn it.

That's not to say that skill has a entirely biological basis, for I'm sure there are common pathways in the brain that will lend themselves well to the a lot of things we encounter as well as the common concepts that tend to be found throughout all of gaming. But much like the strengthening of the connection of the two hemispheres that occurs in musicians I'm sure something similair can occur in regards to gaming so that in time and/or with a little genetic luck one might be more apt to just pick up a game and "get it".

Re:The gap is permanent (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626276)

So you're saying that you need an intermediate game with easier rules and controls, but more depth than casual games?

Though there are people who can't grasp the simplest of "hardcore" gaming concepts, like how to move and look around in a first-person game. I mean, that's gotten about as simple as it can get, and yet still some people just can't learn it. Honestly, if someone can't get that after a little bit of effort, I think they might have a learning disability.

Re:The gap is permanent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626622)

Honestly, if someone can't get that after a little bit of effort, I think they might have a learning disability.

Or it could be that the person simply doesn't prioritize gaming. It is basically a waste of time, after all. It's amusing to see all the hard core gamers posting various rationalizations for and glorifications of what is basically a complex digital version of "hit the ball with the stick". Some even try to conflate gaming with "the arts". Funny stuff. :D

Doesn't that hold for *all* software? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626628)

(..) when I try to play some "advanced" game I find that just learning the rules and controls takes more time than I meant to spend playing the game, so I give up and go back to a simpler game I already know.

Replace "game" with "application", "operating system", "user interface" or any (non-software) "tool", and IMHO that claim still holds. I hope that software developers realize this; if casual users are to use/enjoy your product, then it:

  • Should preferably not need a manual. Optimal is when everything works so intuitively that there's no point in providing one.
  • Should require zero configuration to perform its basic function. But most importantly:
  • Should have well chosen default settings, set optimal for exactly those casual users. They don't have time to fiddle with settings to get something to work (so will just go off & use something else). 'Hard-core' users will have time to change those defaults into what they want. The other way round doesn't work.

This is exactly what makes eg. Ubuntu into such a popular Linux distro: throw it on a machine, and most of the time everything works out of the box, and default settings & looks are useable / bearable / easy to understand (or a few important settings are easy to find using the GUI). Linux distro's where this isn't the case can still be good, but because of this not for casual or newbie users. Which cuts potential user group right there.

Re:Doesn't that hold for *all* software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626800)

Some of us really don't care at all about whether casual users like our software. We just code something that does what we need it to do then make it available. I guess it's lucky for you some developers do care, or you'd be really stuck eh? Seriously, the most common characteristic of casual users is that they bitch about everything but contribute nothing. Kind of like you're doing with that post.

Re:Doesn't that hold for *all* software? (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627322)

A common characteristic of self-absorbed prats is that they are convinced that everything ever written is about them, even when the written thing specifically excludes them.

The guy put the word if in italics, to make sure you saw it. If it's not about you, don't make it about you. Ironically, you are the one bitching about things that don't apply to you while he is bitching about a very focussed set of things (a socially acceptable level of bitching).

no, it doesn't hold for *all* software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626818)

Take for example Blender3D, its a 3D modeling application, and those things have a complicate UI because they are complicated. The same goes for operating systems, defaults are great, a dumbed down intefrace is great, but it must not slow down the target audience (advanced users), because market share isn't the most important thing.

Re:The gap is permanent (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627124)

The gap isn't permanent, it simply exists right now. What you want is 'arcade mode' - plop your butt down for a few moments and have some candy-coated fun.

It doesn't have to be 'one title fits all'. That's mostly a recipe for disaster, like trying to make one kind of music that _everyone_ likes. Genres will continue. But a lot of existing hardcore games can broaden their market simply by respecting arcade mode.

GT4 is the easy villain to point at here. Lots of shiny cars? Check. Lots of cool tracks? Check. Arcade mode? Check. And then you found the damn thing had most of the cars and tracks permanently locked off to anyone but the hardcore. That was an expensive burn for a lot of people -- taught us that we're 'old' and not 'hardcore' and should fuck off and go play Mario Kart; we're not "gamers" anymore.

Result was we stopped buying the big consoles after the PS2, and the top-dollar games. Not because we didn't like to play, or didn't have money.

Game makers can easily expand their sales by just making sure there's a broad way people can explore and mess with the sparkling detailed universes they're pimping. Sure it can't work with everything -- Portal is /about/ being hard and hats off to that great game -- but enough others can and should be expanded for the many, many, wallet-toting people who just have thirty minutes or so in the evening to have a little fun.

Re:The gap is permanent (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627128)

As a casual gamer I know this because once in a while when I try to play some "advanced" game I find that just learning the rules and controls takes more time than I meant to spend playing the game, so I give up and go back to a simpler game I already know.

That's a more "complex" game, not a more advanced one. It's sort of like trying to play Dwarf Fortress without a form of guided tutorial (or at least a scripted one.)

I consider myself a experienced gamer, and if there's a gap, I'm right in the middle of it:

  • Old games, such as Battletoads, or Rick Dangerous, are an order of magnitude more difficult than what I can handle due to fake difficulty. These types of games require a marathon session to complete, and perhaps memorizing the map layout in order to avoid damage or failure. While they may give "continues", they're generally limited - only in unlimited continue type games are less skilled players capable of "nearly finishing".
  • The other extreme, unlimited saving, makes games too easy.
  • Some games jsut aren't hard. Red Alert 2 is one example, where you can easily defeat the AI using american paratroopers alone. (Or 3 prism tanks, or whatever can quickly wipe out a base.)
  • Some games, while having a difficulty setting, only have three and there's a large difference between them. There usually isn't a way to fine-tune the difficulty as needed.
  • The achievement fad found in Steam/PS3/XBox is perhaps a good thing for my level. While achievements typically include things like "game completed", there's nothing stopping the achievements from including difficult ones such as "game completed in 5 hours or less", "game complted without using saves", or "game completed on hard".

Re:The gap is permanent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627156)

I guess it depends on if its console or computer gaming. With computer games basic controls remain the same 98% of the time.
Usually the controls only differ with some more advanced stuff, and that controls are usually pretty consistent for similar genre games.

Re:The gap is permanent (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627466)

Let me just add from all us older casual gamers. Many of us are happy to part with $100, or so, a year for a few games. Do you want the money or not? Cause I sure ain't going to become a hardcore gamer or even dedicated to any one gaming system. Keep making games that don't involve too much dedication but are not too childish and I'll keep giving you my money.

Just (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625752)

prettify Dwarf Fortress a bit and convert the learning brick-wall or north-face-of-death into something more resembling lush rolling hills and you'd have something, nay?

Public Perception is off? (4, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625782)

...but we're a long way past the point of the Xbox being all about shooting and driving, even if the public perception hasn't quite moved with the software line-up.

How long is long past? Maybe I'm just not paying enough attention and part of the unwashed masses, but after I bought an Xbox 360 last year to play rock band 2 I decided to search out some games to retroactively justify purchasing the console for one game. I have purchased no other games since. The only games available seem to consist mainly of FPS/3rd person shooters (which I'm not interested in playing outside of a PC environment) and driving games that I was never interested in. There's a handful of RPGs that I might be interested in I suppose, but those are often available on the PC as well and I kind of lack the time to play them these days.

Again, maybe some one deeper into console games can enlighten me...but my piece of the public perception is that the Xbox is still all about shooting and driving.

Re:Public Perception is off? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625914)

Ditto. I bought one of those "banned" Xbox 360s and it came with a ton of games on blank CD. I played through all 100 or so games, but the only ones I kept were:

L4D
Bionic Commando (reminds me of Pitfall with guns)
Borderlands (reminds me of Tremors)
Red Faction 2 (I like scifi)
Quake 4 (ditto)
Batman Arkhan Asylum
RE5 (I like being scared)
Fable 2 (RPG)
Pure (silly but fun racing game)
Halo ODST (short and easy)

So that's about 10%. I prefer the PS2 and Gamecube libraries. More variety, especially since I like those so-called "kiddy" games that X360 doesn't have.

Re:Public Perception is off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625948)

Then why did you buy XBox 360 and not Wii? It would have been much cheaper and have more casual-friendly games.

Re:Public Perception is off? (1)

CDS (143158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626152)

I totally agree. I used to be a more-hardcore gamer but as I've gotten older & started a family (I have a 7 year old daughter and 6 month old twins), I am starting to graduate to the casual games. I have an xbox360 which I bought primarily to play the rockband games. I also have games such as Call of Duty, The Force Unleashed, Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock, etc.

None of those games are appropriate for for my 7-year old. I'm looking for some games we can play together and it's been difficult. I've found a few casual games (Worms Armageddon, for example) but for the most part, it's still pretty much hardcore games.

I don't want to have to invest in another console just for casual games, but it's starting to look like I don't have a lot of choice...

Re:Public Perception is off? (2, Insightful)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627460)

Lego Star Wars/Indy Jones/Batman and now Lego Harry Potter is coming. Those games are perfect for a parent to play with their kid. They have a lot of replay value.

I'd also suggest looking at Xbox Live Arcade games. Off the top of my head, Kingdom For Keflings, Pacman Champ Edition, Carcassonne, Ticket To Ride, Puzzle Arcade, Monkey Island (humour might be unsuitable for a 7yo, not sure), Geometry Wars 2 (it's not as hard as the first one and has more game modes).

There's a huge number of downloadable games, the good thing is they all are demos of themselves - if you like it you just buy and it unlocks.

Zelda spreads the gap (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625786)

It has easy control (swing the remote) and easy gameplay, but solving the puzzles can be as challenging as a hardcore RPG. With a little more thought I could probably think of other "medium" difficulty games. Maybe Metroid Prime. Or one of the many Sonics.

Re:Zelda spreads the gap (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626332)

It has easy control (swing the remote) and easy gameplay, but solving the puzzles can be as challenging as a hardcore RPG. With a little more thought I could probably think of other "medium" difficulty games. Maybe Metroid Prime. Or one of the many Sonics.

I haven't tried the newer Metroid Primes but I definitely wouldn't consider the first two gamecube versions good casual, or bridge gapping games. Any of the sonics from the 16 bit era are great games and you can download those on all (?) of the systems.

Is the board game industry... (5, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625834)

About transitioning people from Monopoly to Settlers of Cataan to Dungeons and Dragons to tabletop gaming?

Re:Is the board game industry... (1)

Unholy_Kingfish (614606) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626072)

Excellent analogy!

The article intro sums it up (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625864)

from the need-more-retro-mega-man-titles

There is a great selection of "intermediate" titles for the Wii... especially if you browse the virtual console titles (most of which are under $10).

Life Life Life (5, Insightful)

Unholy_Kingfish (614606) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625876)

I am a gamer. I'd fall into the casual category. Problem is simply that I have a life that doesn't permit me to play more than 5-10 hours a week. And that is if I am lucky. I want and can handle complex games. Anything less and I will not be satisfied.

Now the people that are playing "casual" games would much prefer watching TV over gaming. Those people will never be able to be converted to a more involved type of game.

Look at all the people that play Farmville. My wife even got into it and she HATES video games. And after a short time she bailed on it. Why? because she doesn't want to invest time into a useless endeavor.

Give her something more complex that might not be a "waste of time" and she gets frustrated because she wants a zero learning curve. Zero learning curve tends to mean something less then advanced. It's an evil little circle that might be impossible to overcome.

The untapped market will more likely than not remain untapped.

Re:Life Life Life (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626040)

she "HATES" video games, so there's nothing there to be tapped.

Re:Life Life Life (1)

Unholy_Kingfish (614606) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626062)

Exactly. But most people I know who play "casual" stuff will only do so under party atmospheres and otherwise they "hate" video games. I think that is a more common attitude especially amongst 30-something women.

The younger crowd is a little more open.

Re:Life Life Life (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32626262)

Play a co-op game with her. If she's struggling with a learning curve, teach her, and you'll get to spend time together as an added bonus. All good hobbies require training or practice, gaming is no different.

I recommend something you're good at, so you can pick up the slack in the beginning and not have to play on easy mode. I personally used Gears of War but I think any co-op game with a forgiving injury system would work.

FPS FTW! (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626414)

I thought FPS formed the bridge between casual and hardcore. Granted, if you suck you might get bummed playing against more skilled players sometimes, but the thing I like about them is a lot of the 'skill' (twitch mostly, a few strategies help, and knowing/learning maps) is portable across different FPS games. I used to be what we'd consider a hardcore player, wasting hours every week, but I have other interests and other things to do. So I've kept playing various FPS games with an understanding that I can usually play at least moderately well, even for short periods of time, and enjoy it.

Re:Life Life Life (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627502)

I don't think it's purely time, but something closer to perception of time or difficulty. When Jesper Juul surveyed a bunch of self-described "casual" and "hardcore" gamers for his book [amazon.com] , he didn't really find a strong different in hours spent between the two--- there were plenty of casual gamers who put in 40-hour weeks playing their casual games, just like there are full-time FPS players. There seems to somehow be a feeling of less time investment, though, or perhaps more granularity of time investment (you'll never be stuck in a 30-minute sequence you can't save-and-exit from). Perhaps also less attention/effort required to some extent: casual games are more of an unwind-and-relax activity.

baloney! (4, Interesting)

oddTodd123 (1806894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625928)

From most casual to hardcore:

Farmville, Mafia Wars
Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, Tetris
Wii Sports, Cooking Mama
Mario games, racing and sports games
Serious Sam, Diablo
Assassins Creed, Halo
GTA, Rainbow Six
Dragon Age, Total War series

Where's the gap?

Re:baloney! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626166)

1-3 lines are very different from 4 and on. I know plenty of people who would play the former but never the later.

Re:baloney! (1)

oddTodd123 (1806894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626246)

That's not the point. The question is, are there "transition games" that would encourage people to move from line 3 to line 4, in your example? The fact that different people have interest in different types and complexity of games is a given. The article is hypothesizing that such games need to exist, that if only there were games that were slightly more complex/hardcore than Wii Sports Resort but less complex than Super Mario Galaxy, we would see the people currently playing the former eventually playing the latter.

"bridging the gap" (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626120)

That's like bridging the gap between coffee and coke. It's like bridging the gap between whiskey and wine. You are only going to create some crap that no one likes.

What needs to die is this attitude that what we need to do is make games that appeal to everyone, so that every person in the population buys it. That's stupid. It's chasing an impossible dream. You are far better off just making a good game that a certain set of people like. You can't appeal to everyone, so pick a genre, "casual", "hardcore" or whatever, and make something good in that genre. You aren't going to make a game that appeals to both grandma and Twitchy McFragerton, so stop trying. You're just going to end up with some crap that both grandma and Twitchy agree is worthless.

Re:"bridging the gap" (2, Insightful)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626564)

I agree with the point you are making but let me provide a counter point. If the game you are making takes 1-4 years and costs between 12-18 million you have to have at least a reasonable chance of making that back which means you have to have as broad of a market as possible. Game making is still a business. They still need to turn a profit.

With that said, I think the best solution would be to focus and make a fun game as you mentioned but try and make it cheaper. This is also one of the reasons why the Wii is doing so well. Casual games are much cheaper to make.

Re:"bridging the gap" (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626772)

That's like bridging the gap between coffee and coke. It's like bridging the gap between whiskey and wine. You are only going to create some crap that no one likes.

You mean energy drinks and fruit flavored beer? The outcome really depends on the target market. As a whiskey drinker, sometimes I will have a strongbow, but I sure as hell don't want a bud light lime. If you try to appeal to too wide a market, you end up with a shit product that only morons like (those ridiculous stupid malt liquor energy drink combo things). If instead you create something that actually fits in a niche market, you can create something valuable that most of the market will come to occasionally, even if it isn't their first choice.

Along the same lines, grandma may enjoy caffeinated iced tea (its relatively weak but can still do the trick), but only twitchy mcfragerton is going to have redline. This doesn't mean that cappuccino drinks don't have a place in the market.

We cannot allow a gap! (1)

Kashell (896893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626212)

"Sir, we absolutely cannot allow a casual-hardcore gap!"

"MEIN FURHER! I CAN WALK!"

Why? (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626222)

Why the push into "hardcore" games for so-called "casual" gamers? I'm guessing because "hardcore" games generally cost more than "casual" (i.e. non) games. Casual games generally don't cost more than 30 USD (e.g. most Wii titles). A lot of them are actually free. "Hardcore" games like Gears of War and GTA generally cost 60 USD, twice the price.

What "hardcore" games? (1)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626578)

This article is a load of crap. "Hardcore" games virtually don't exist any more (in the major publisher marjet) and are especially missing from consoles. Frat boys who play Madden and Halo aren't "hardcore" gamers* and aren't playing "hardcore" games**. If they mean the "bored housewife or grandmother who can't handle a game more complex than pacman" market they should just say so. Console games have been dumbed down and simplified for almost a decade now to appeal to the "broader" market. If someone can't get into your average console game they are either not very interested in games or stupid (remember a large portion of the public is on the wrong side of the bell curve).

Calling modern console games "hardcore" is like calling Michael Bay films "intellectually stimulating".

* An average SNES game would be unbeatable to the vast majority of modern gamers.
** FPSs have been slipping in difficulty for so many years that even on the highest difficulty I rarely find myself challenged and I am not greatly skilled at them.

Re:What "hardcore" games? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627154)

even on the highest difficulty I rarely find myself challenged

Sir, may I suggest, that YOU are what's hardcore.

Re:What "hardcore" games? (2, Interesting)

primerib (1827024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627504)

Agreed. The definition of "hardcore" games has morphed from "difficult, with steep learning curve" into "manly, and ego stroking". The reason why "casual" gaming has taken off like a rocket is because it isn't explicitly targeting young males who need an M-rating on a game because they wouldn't be caught dead playing a "kiddy game" (except for football games. Dudes groping eachother is manly as hell). The vast majority of modern "hardcore gamers" are casual gamers who are afraid to buy anything other than "manly" titles. In the same way that they secure their ego by refusing to play "kiddy" titles, they use the title "hardcore" to make themselves feel superior to the unwashed masses.

The most telling moment for me personally was when my Bro friends lambasted me for playing Dwarf Fortress and ArmA because they were "kiddy casual" games. They then proceeded to go play some Madden, Modern Warfare and Guitar Hero. They are the modern "hardcore gamer".

The point is that Hardcore and Casual don't exist in modern mainstream gaming. The sooner we stop obsessing over them, the better.

It's possible! (1)

DarkDespair5 (1179263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626636)

The key to make a game appeal to both types of gamers is to include elements such as 'rubberband AI' (In Mario Kart, CPU speed was adjusted by player position; items get better as you fall behind) and difficulty levels (imagine that!), choices, or chaos (The Super Smash Bros series can turn a near-win into a loss or a tie through items or stage elements). Super Mario Galaxy 2 allows players to choose between easy, doable and brutally difficult Stars. Frequent checkpoints and lives ensure that the challenge is painless for those who wish to undertake it. Since you only need 60 or so to win, the challenge is self-adjusted. Unfortunately, as games have become more complex, tweaking hardness is nigh impossible without losing balance or frustrating players; this is a brilliant little strategy that leaves all players fulfilled. Now, 'casual' games made in 5 minutes are a different story....

Easy to learn, difficult to master (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626676)

Megaman is a perfect example. Nobody who has beaten half the Megaman games is going to be called anything less than 'hard core', but its easy enough to pick up any of them and start playing with no instructions at all.

Re:Easy to learn, difficult to master (1)

DarkDespair5 (1179263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626734)

Unfortunately, easy to pick up is not the same thing as easy to continue playing. Fortunately, Megaman is retro-style enough that the difficulty is easy enough to tweak. (Health, enemy aggressiveness...)

Am I a casual gamer? (4, Insightful)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32626740)

I used to play the NES, SNES and all that. I spend hours playing the good old games. I could play through the first few Mega Man games blindfolded. I knew every secret and trick in Mario games, including Super Mario World. Knew the Zeldas on NES and SNES like the back of my hand.

Then I stopped playing.

I guess I grew up. Or something.

I've always felt like a gamer at heart, but I came to realize that even though games are looking prettier and prettier, they are feeling rather empty. Maybe it was just the thrill of being a kid discovering new worlds that hooked me, and now that I'm an adult I don't have the time to be sucked in anymore. I certainly don't have the time to play games all day.

Until the Wii came, I did keep an eye on the gaming market, but I definitely wasn't interested in getting a new console.

The Wii was the first console in many years that created a small spark of desire inside of me to go back to playing games.

I think, as someone said, that Nintendo isn't competing with Sony and Microsoft these days, as much as they are competing with disinterest.

But... Am I a casual gamer? I suppose I am, now. But I used to be "hardcore". Nintendo managed to drag me back into gaming, at least partially. I think that might be part of their success -- winning over disinterested traditional gamers such as myself.

For all the bashing of "casual" games for the Wii, didn't any of you notice that, in, fact games of the past were usually quite simplistic? They may have been hard to play all the way through, but they certainly weren't the monsters of bloated cutscenes and story lines we have today.

Frankly, I'm getting sick of the whining about "casual games destroying the market". Accessible games means that people like me get to pick them up and play, and not have to invest many hours a day to do so. Ok, I admit I played through Super Mario Galaxy and managed to unlock Luigi. But it just doesn't feel like the "good old days".

I an NOT a casual gamer! (2, Interesting)

Kreela (1770584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627166)

I only play fitness games that make me sweat: currently New U and My Fitness Coach. If designers came up with a game that could match those intense levels of exercise with a long, involved storyline I'd buy it. So far no-one has. Instead this market is full of simple, cheaply-made, narrative-free games. It's this misguided label of the casual gamer that's leading so many developers astray. I don't care about the time it takes to pick up a game. I just don't want to be sat on my bum for 5 hours at a time, getting fatter.
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