An Alternative Hypothesis on Games
Now let's make one thing clear the only time in my life I have ever been a PC gamer was between the ages of 18 months and 6-7 years old when I played computer games on DOS. Nevertheless, I have always owned PC games, and have involved myself heavily in playing them. The most noteable of these being Starcraft and Diablo 2 in which I spent countless hours both in-game and out with various gaming Clans (Aftershock, Apocalyptic Harbingers, Imperial Alliance, and a few others). After which I soon branched out into the realm of Day of Defeat requiring me to get a Steam account. I enjoyed entering tournaments, especially in Day of Defeat, and even stumbled across the "Gentlemen from Hell" who across are honestly some of the best people I have ever had the joy of gaming with. Despite all of this, my dedicated console poession and gaming continued through the N64, Gamecube, PS2, Xbox (which I no longer own), Gameboy, DS, PSP (also something I no longer own), and has extended into this generation (I have owned all three major consoles).
It is thus logical that I have never had a gaming PC, and I doubt I will ever have one that has the video-card capabillity to support the game-of-the day. It's not that I hate PC gaming, but I often avoid trying to invest too much into it as I find that a lot of the games I have bought as a child and young teenager are no longer playable on my laptop (I'm looking at you Lego Island). Thus console gaming makes sense to me.
However, as of late I have continually obtained more and more PC games. Just last weekend julianozuca informed me that Magic The Gathering: Duels of Planeswalkers, a game I was planning on getting on the PS3, was half price on Steam. I jumped at that deal and bought the game immediately. I then, a few days later, stumbled across Steam's "Treasure Hunt" which included putting Droplitz and Zombie Driver on sale for $2.50 each. They seemed like solid games, and thus I decided to pick them up. The third string of game purchases is from the wonderful, and generous hands of mufujifi whom I cannot thank enough for gifting me the Humble Indie Bundle #2.
In less than a week I obtained more PC games than I've bought well ... in a long, long time.
Then the Steam Holiday Sale hit yesterday, and after a few hours of scanning through every game on sale I had many decisions to make. I made a wishlist, and purchased several other titles allowing myself to spend over $50 on PC Games ... a sentence I have never had the ability to utter before now. I bought several games including some hard to find ones (Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Mafia, etc) as well as some great indie titles which were as inexpensive as $0.49 American.
I then spent the better half of my yesterday PC gaming, enjoying an alternative experience from my "regular programming" as I haven't even touched any of the consoles that are sitting idily by. Yet, I still reject any notion that I am a hardcore PC gamer. I don't have a high tech computer, I can barley run WoW or any non-indie game released after 2004 on my laptop, but at the same time I am not a casual gamer. By the very fact that I have an account on this website, that my collection is now over 350 games, and that I have been gaming for 18 years screams that I am in no way, shape or form a casual gamer.
So what am I?
I propose a third reality, an alternative hypothesis of the four-pronged nature that suggests that yes, I, as a console gamer, do differentiate between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, but also acknowledge the PC (and MAC for those who have one) as a distinct, and powerful form of gaming. There is no way I could replay some of my favourite games, or accomplish a lot of others things in gaming if it wasn't for the PC and the experience it provides. Thus, there is no longer a singularity, a duality, nor a triality in the gamer mentality,but a four-ality we all ought to embrace.
However, the conclusion that the PC provides a different experience from all other mediums of gaming is not ground-breaking to say the very least. So let me extend this point to the overarching argument of this piece:
There are casual gamers, and there are hardcore gamers. But what about those who enjoy these so called "casual" games? Those who appreciate the wonders of a simple indie game? Well, let me first say that I hate the idea of a "casual" game. I think the definition (based on about 10-15 sources), being games with "simple rules and lack of commitment required in contrast to more complex hardcore games," is a gross appropriation and aborgation of everything gaming stands for, but why?
In breaking it down, we can see that this definition states that a lot of our current games, and most of the older generations of games -- the old school beat 'em ups, and other genres are casual games. They are easy to jump into, don't have save points, and aren't complex whatsoever -- you just beat up the bad guy. Yet, I would wager that many of us, myself included, have put countless hours into them. Furthermore, Arcade games are "casual" by definition, but I honestly believe that for the majority of us over the age of say 19 or 20 have at least a few memories of arcade games that we invested several hours into.
There is thus for me no such thing as a casual game. There are just games with different structures of providing a unique experience.
Now gamers -- they are the ones who can be "hardcore" or "casual," and that differentiation is not made based on the types of games one plays or anything of the sort, but rather how long they play and what they invest into it. If you embrace gaming as a true hobby then you are a hardcore gamer, and if you do it on the side -- just with friends, and don't really consider it as a viable option for something to do on a night in then you're a casual gamer. I'll say it again and again. There is no such thing as a casual game. There are casual gamers, and they are really not that big of a problem for the gaming world.
Thus we should not be investing in a vendetta against casual gamers nor against "casual" games, but rather against bad games, against those with no substance or quality about them.