Sunday, August 12, 2007

[off-topic] Hardcore vs. Casual gaming

In reply to one comment on Joystiq while discussing hardware sales.

> I'd really like for somebody to define "hardcore game" for me.

My definition of "hardcore game" is game which requires involved playing.

I would consider you to be hardcore gamer in "Madden and NCAA football games". Because you have extensive experience in football games, you would demand more of it from newer games. That's what makes gaming "hardcore": entry level is very high.

Casual gaming is all about "Pick and Play" e.g. WiiSports' Tennis or Baseball. One doesn't need to spend hours getting into game - s/he can pick WaggleMote and start playing right away.

Also, feat of many console games I consider "hardcore" is boss fights and poor/non-existent saving system. "Pick and Play" should really be "Pick, Play and Put it back". And that's where most console games fail miserably: you can't stop playing moment you want to stop playing - but the moment game allows you to stop playing. E.g. Metroid and it stupid save rooms: you came into room and door was locked behind you - now you are expected to spend time looking for way out or fight boss. But you can NOT save game and start doing something else. No. Game doesn't allow that.

Hardcore gaming: gaming demanding higher degree of involvement. Whether by mean of poor save system or by lots of tricks you need to keep in your head to be able to play game (and you easily start forgetting them if you do not play many hours daily; lengthy key combos are good example of that).

Casual gaming: gaming by formula "Pick, Play and Move on." You can start any moment you want to play. You can play and enjoy game as long you want and have time. And last (but not least) you can stop playing (preserving your progress) any moment you like or have to (the "have to"s are what adult life is all about).

P.S. Many PC games are much better suited for casual gaming, since most of them have good save system (or what console folks call "instant save/load"). And somehow PC games also manage to avoid the silliness of boss fights, which can bar you from making any progress in game for long time.

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