So I’m sitting here reading Jeff Vogel’s blog about casual games and it kind of got me thinking about this whole casual business. If you are an indie or a AAA developer casual is probably something of a dirty word. People that play casual games are akin to quaint grandmothers passing the time while sipping on a cup of tea before they keel over and die of boredom. But I actually play a ton of these things, there was a phase where I was completely addicted to cell phone games, and Kings age (I don’t know is that even casual?)
Hearing the word casual makes me cringe, and when I think about a lot of the popular games out there right now they are not very casual at all, at least they don’t start out by being casual. I’m talking about the likes of LoL and Dota 2. Tons of people play these things and not all of them are good, but the pull there is people want to be like those pro guys, there is a seemingly attainable level of skill that can be achieved with enough work put into it and thats the drive. I remember back when I was really into wow pvp I looked at a ton of rogue pvp videos and the things people were doing there was blowing me away I wanted to do that, I wanted to be that good. If wow had allowed me to pay $10 and be that good I think that whole draw would have been gone. Reminds me of getting a trainer for one of those old Infinity engine RPGs where you could set your stats to be anything you wanted instead of spending hours adventuring in the world, leveling up and collecting powerful items. It seems like cheating, and I think in many ways it breaks the immersion and the fantasy of the game when an option like that is even available.
In the end I suppose the question is, does it matter? If the game sells like hot cakes who cares if the immersion is broken so people can pay to be successful and be winners. Isn’t that why a lot of people buy games in the first place? To feel a certain way, to experience a fantasy that they wouldn’t otherwise get in their every day lives?
I think it matters, I think you get a hollow less memorable experience if you don’t put in the work, and you’re much more likely to put the game down and forget about it rather than keep playing. Because in the end as a content creator I selfishly want someone to play the crap out of what I make, I want them to look and analyze all the things that I spent hours working on, to fill in the gaps and create their own stories and make that game part of their lives too.