What's In a Word? The Meaning of 'Casual' Gaming

zidaneheadbutt.jpgIan Bogost is back with another Persuasive Games column, this time talking about the perception of the term 'casual' - we tend to think of casual as equaling informality (as opposed to 'formal' games for the hardcore market). It's the 'casual Friday' association, if you will - something that the current casual market encourages with the types of games being churned out. But what if we looked at the casual market in a racier light: instead of boring and staid, what about thinking of casual in a new way. Like ... casual sex? The gaming equivalent of the one night stand? Interesting and exciting for an evening, but not meant to be turned into a long-term relationship. Fleeting, different, and disposable - Bogost says that this sort of 'casual,' with no emphasis on long-term play, could benefit the current and future crops of casual games:

Most game developers are "core gamers", well versed in the complex logics of resource allocation. We tend to privilege simplicity and emergence in games, favouring sophisticated experiences that create new challenges each time we play. And perhaps one well-balanced, mastery-style casual game is less financially risky than many throwaway experiences. But such an attitude ignores the pleasures of the fleeting, the transitory, the impermanent. Casual games, perhaps, can do more by doing less.

It's an interesting take on things, but I'm not sure I can see any companies interested in turning a profit finding the one night stands of casual gaming a safe proposition.

Persuasive Games: Casual As In Sex, Not Casual As In Friday [Gamasutra]


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