As I told you yesterday, I have a lot of spare time at work. I recently picked up Angry Birds for Windows Phone 8 (for free, via Bing Rewards), which I've been playing on my Nokia Lumia 920. I've played the game quite a bit in the past, on Windows Phone 7 and on Facebook, and consider myself an Angry Birds veteran (a slightly embarrassing title). However, I mean this to be my definitive playthrough. There are achievements for getting three stars in every level for each episode. I'm going to get three stars in every level of the entire game, have the achievements to prove it, and be done with it forever (then to move on to Rio, Seasons, and so on).
With the possible exception of Farmville and all its clones, Angry Birds is about as casual a game as you can get. It's the first thing that comes to my mind when talking about casual games. Let me share an exchange I had recently. We were talking about Kinect, and why Microsoft includes it with Xbox One:
I could give a rat's ass about Kinect games, so I'm a little out of my element here. I would suggest that Microsoft is trying to appeal to casual gamers, as that demographic is presently making a great deal of money for companies catering to them. By integrating Kinect, they are insuring developers will make games for it. I haven't researched this really at all, as I don't particularly care, but there's my two cents.
The causal demographic is presently making a great deal of money for companies catering to it... like who? Blizzard? Nintendo? It's a false demographic that does nothing but piss off the people that were already customers.
Blizzard makes casual games? According to whom? I was thinking of Rovio.
Yeah, Blizzard makes casual games. :roll: Do gamers think at all before they start typing? (Vidpci up there never answered me.)
Anyway, I think Rovio (Angry Birds developer) makes casual games. But what is a casual game? Lets discuss. For a horde of loudmouthed gamers, a casual game is "Any genre, system, or type of game I don't particularly enjoy." However, I think we can come up with a better definition, by identifying the characteristics of a casual game. Here's my list:
- Has simple, obvious gameplay, such that a non-gamer can quickly begin playing.
- Has short sessions. A game that requires significant blocks of time between checkpoints is not casual.
- Is generally non-violent or contains cartooney violence. Casual games should appeal to a wide audience.
- Is a fairly light program. A game that requires a high-end PC is not casual.
Now that I'm looking at my list, I think I've got my definition: A casual game is one designed to appeal to a wide audience, including non-gamers. Angry Birds fits this bill very well. However, does a casual game always produce a casual experience? I'll give you my thoughts on that tomorrow.