What separates the hardcore and casual crowd

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Here's my hardcore vs casual test:
1) Imagine a person who has never played the game, nor any game with similar game mechanics
2) Imagine that person playing the game for half an hour

If the person is still completely ineffective at the game, and confused at even the basic controls and game mechanics, it's a hardcore game.

For a real world example, load up any FPS or RTS game, and hand your grandmother the controller.

Casual games may be difficult to master, but they're universally easy to pick up and play regardless of prior gaming experience, and that's where the difference lies.

This topic amuses me. Half of he forum seems to think I'm casual, and the other half thinks I'm hardcore.

To add to that, weren't you a casual gamer at one point? Or did you pop out of your mom's vagina playing a game boy?

hahaha i laughed so hard at that

The industry seperates the CORE from the casual.
Games are designed and marketed towards such audiences that companies recognize as casual (for them are kid's games, party games, many wii titles, etc.) or core.

Hardcore doesn't come into it and is a seperate thing that doesn't really get catered to.

Funny thing is how everyone has atleast some idea of what casual means, but many love to deny there's a diffference.
Anyone here on the Escapist boards with more than just a few troll topics to his or her name is CORE, not casual. Too late to deny you have much interest in games now.

veloper:
The industry seperates the CORE from the casual.
Games are designed and marketed towards such audiences that companies recognize as casual (for them are kid's games, party games, many wii titles, etc.) or core.

Hardcore doesn't come into it and is a seperate thing that doesn't really get catered to.

Funny thing is how everyone has atleast some idea of what casual means, but many love to deny there's a diffference.
Anyone here on the Escapist boards with more than just a few troll topics to his or her name is CORE, not casual. Too late to deny you have much interest in games now.

You know, that might explain why I remember hardcore being something people commonly self identified as well over a decade ago, rather than something recently cooked up by marketers, as a lot of people around here like to claim it is. They may be getting the idea of a core audience member confused with the idea of a hardcore gamer.

I dunno, what seperates someone who only doodles and someone who paints so good they can do it for a living?
What seperates a freshmen whose minoring in business and a CEO?
What seperates tetris and Starcraft? (besides additional pylons)
And speaking of high school what seperates your little bro kicking a soccer ball around the backyard and someone on the varsity team?

Not enough, I guess.

Racecarlock:
It's not the complexity or deepness of games. It's not how long you've been playing games. It's not how much you spend on gaming hardware, nor how long you still play games.

It's a big fucking attitude problem.

Let's test that: What is your status in StarCraft 2? Do the League of Legends gang welcome your presence on their team?

There are people who excel and people who suck. The best games around make that distinction very clear.

You know, rhetorical questions tend to lose their potency when you use them on almost every line. And why the hell would a person with a passing interest in gaming want to develop for the medium?

"I hate reading and books but I've thought of this great 500-page novel that I definitely want to write."

Woodsey:
You know, rhetorical questions tend to lose their potency when you use them on almost every line. And why the hell would a person with a passing interest in gaming want to develop for the medium?

"I hate reading and books but I've thought of this great 500-page novel that I definitely want to write."

i dont patience to write a novel.

My first thought is "Game Time"

it usually seems reflective of how much people play, with online capability being another key factor. as well as motivations and how quick-to-anger we are in competitive atmospheres.

There's no problem with casual games, the problem is with mainstream games that are compromised to appeal to a larger audience. Note the word "compromised". Nintendo has made great games that can be enjoyed by anybody, but look at all the games that have been intentionally dumbed down. Any modern shooter or action/adventure/platformer released these days will be brain killingly simple. Objective compasses and regenerating health are the rule now, and although those things have their place, I believe most developers just include them because it's considered a mark of "bad design" for any player to ever get stuck or frustrated. There are plenty of exceptions, but it's a common problem. There's this assumption of gaming illiteracy in most AAA titles, which is probably great for the illiterate, not so much for those of us who grew up gaming.

I wouldn't say gaming is a 'casual' gamer's hobby, more like something to pass the time. Like playing Angry Birds while on the toilet, that sort of thing.

And for the moment, I'm not sure what a 'hardcore' gamer is. Is it someone who is an MLG? Just in a clan/guild? Gaming being their only hobby? Playing games all day, every day?

majora13:
I believe most developers just include them because it's considered a mark of "bad design" for any player to ever get stuck or frustrated.

I think that this is a really good point. It's possible for a player to get stuck because of bad design, which unfortunately causes a lot of devs to conflate the two.

As I see it, the difference between casual and hardcore gamers is that, given the choice of all available pasttimes, the hardcore gamer will often choose to play games over most or all other options. It has nothing innately to do with the complexity of games in my opinion, it's just that casual players enjoy games under far more limited situations and seek different experiences (ie they only play when friends come over and use the game as a conduit for ice-breaking and conversation or something instead of for the enjoyment of playing the game itself.) Hardcore gamers enjoy the pasttime of gaming itself, which leads to more appreciation of more complex games, but I don't see why the 45 year old housewife who dedicates herself to building the world's biggest Farmville farm is less hardcore than some kid who play Halo online.

XMark:
Here's my hardcore vs casual test:
1) Imagine a person who has never played the game, nor any game with similar game mechanics
2) Imagine that person playing the game for half an hour

If the person is still completely ineffective at the game, and confused at even the basic controls and game mechanics, it's a hardcore game.

For a real world example, load up any FPS or RTS game, and hand your grandmother the controller.

Casual games may be difficult to master, but they're universally easy to pick up and play regardless of prior gaming experience, and that's where the difference lies.

The argument that "Hardcore games aren't for grandmas" is absolutely moronic (I'm going to pretend your proverbial novice gamer is your grandma). Your grandma has never played video games, and you suddenly expect her to master a fairly novel method of hand-eye coordination and input within a half hour. When you get your learners permit and start driving, you likely kinda sucked at it. There were lots of signs everywhere to look at and the other cars were going so fast and you were mixing up the pedals and oversteering every turn and making a general ass of yourself. At this point, no one says, "oh, driving is just too intense for you" because a)literally billions of people know how to drive and b) everyone started driving at some point and they accept that you suck now but will improve. If your grandma likes the game, maybe she will play again and improve and master the complicated control scheme, but she will need to practice, and it is beyond idiotic to expect someone else who is 70 years old to immediately pick up something and succeed to the same degree as someone else who has been gaming since age 4. And if someone can pick up a game immediately, maybe you shouldn't dismiss it as casual and instead appreciate that the developer was able to make such an intuitive control scheme. Judging their understanding of the game mechanics/objectives is a little more fair, but again, the complexity of the HUD or resource management or other game conventions along those lines are completely new concepts, and they take adjusting to. You're throwing people in the deep end on their first go, and if your grandma is really hardcore, she will work her way through the simpler games first and come out the other side wanting more.

Racecarlock:
It's not the complexity or deepness of games. It's not how long you've been playing games. It's not how much you spend on gaming hardware, nor how long you still play games.

It's a big fucking attitude problem.

I'll be talking to everyone who said "the masses" are the problem in the "What's holding back the industry" thread. Who the hell are you to deem who is worthy and not worthy of playing video games? Who are you to decide that new people shouldn't ever join because if they do, they won't start off with the game that takes six math problems to start up? What gives you any authority on who joins us in enjoying our medium? I thought you wanted everyone to enjoy games. I guess you wanted them to only play the games you like.

How the hell are we going to move forward as a community and as a medium if we start excluding people based on their preferences? Do you know how bad I can make you guys look with this argument? It's the same argument as "Gay people shouldn't be able to get married because they don't follow certain bible rules". That's how bad it is. Hell, if some of you guys talked about black people the way you talk about casual gamers, you'd of been banned from this forum for blatant racism 2 days after you started talking like that.

But of course, you're not talking about gay people or black people. You're talking about casual gamers, which apparently makes it ok. Except, it really really doesn't.

Also, you want innovation, right? Well, how will that happen when you don't let creative people get in to our medium? Yeah, bet you didn't think of that. Since you're excluding casual gamers from the mix, you might also be excluding people with great game ideas from even touching the medium they want to develop for.

Also, you want games to keep coming out, right? Well, how will that happen if new customers stop coming in because you decided to insult them on how casual they are? If you want big games and even some small games to keep being made, you have to let these guys in, or else games won't be profitable any more, and you'll basically see no more new titles.

To add to that, weren't you a casual gamer at one point? Or did you pop out of your mom's vagina playing a game boy?

And finally, do you want our medium recognized as a medium for everyone, where anyone can get in and enjoy it with you and you finally won't have to explain inner game workings to anyone or not? Do you want gaming to get respect or not? Well, we're not going to get respect if we keep insulting the crap out of new gamers and casual gamers. All you're accomplishing by doing that is making us look like a bunch of exclusionary morons. Do you really want to continue on with the current community of people who will insult you if you happen to like call of duty? Do you want to become that clique at high school that doesn't let anyone in because they're not "Hip" "Cool" or "Smart" enough? Do you really want to have your siblings look at you in confusion every time you mention a game because you didn't let them in in the first place? Do you want gaming to remain a small economy that's easy for right wing nutjobs to target because the parents and old people you didn't let in have no idea what video games are actually like? Do you want all of that? If not, then stop insulting casual gamers and blaming them for every industry problem.

That's what's up.

The problem with casual and mainstream gamers is that the industry in it's current state generally wants to only cater to the largest possible demographic. The arrival of mainstream and casual gamers has meant the reduction of titles aimed at serious gamers accross the board. In theory it should be easy to produce say deeply stat based RPGs for that type of hardcore gamer, alongside the flahsy shooters and action games, but the industry in general does not balance itself and would rather fail trying to cater to the largest possible audience than produce for a smaller, but still profitable one. This is why the casuals are blamed for problems with the industry, their arrival changed the direction of game development, and lead to the people that were there first (of which there are a large number) facing a drought of the kinds of games they want to play.

You can argue good business, and everything else, but the bottom line is that the conflict exists for a reason. If huge piles of money can be made by churning out toolbox shooters and $1 casual games, then that is what the industry is going to do for the most part, instead of taking the time to develop a better quality game for a smaller group, from which the profits won't be as large (although they will still make profits).

I'll also say that a lot of this conflict is based around a lack of understanding of who the casual gamers and who the hardcore gamers are. In general it's the casual gamers who are the ones calling themselves "hardcore" as a group of poseurs. Those flashy shooters like CoD are very simplistic games produced from the same basic toolboxes, that innovate very little. These games are simple enough where an 8 year old with ADHD can sit down and play one of thse games effectively (whether they should or not given the content is besides the point), and do this with some frequency, which leads to a lot of the annoyance over things like them being on XBL.

To be honest it's the casuals that tend to bring down the wrath of the censorship nuts (who are not exclusively right wing, read what role Hillary Clinton played during the Hot Coffee scandal). After all it's a casual level of accessibility that lets little Timmy play a graphic murder simulator. You cater to the lowest common denominator, and this is what you get.

One of the reasons why this kind of censorship outrage is fairly recent (though it always existed on the fringes) was that in days past it didn't matter what kind of content a game had in it, the barrier to entry and to get that far prevented anyone (like most kids) from getting that far. If a kid was able to play a game on older computer systems, or even some of the console RPGs, it was a very exceptional situation which said a bit about the kid in question and his abillity to handle the content to begin with, so you had less complaints. Your typical impressionable 8 year old would get bored with an RPG long before they ran into something that might be objectionable because of the pace and complexity. The games intended for more of a general audience, like Sierra's "Quest" series were also substantially more careful with their content along with their level of general accessibility.

People talk about things like child killing in say "Fallout 2" but consider for a second that there were less gamers then due to accessibility, and your average kid or teenager saw this stuff as high nerdism, in part because they couldn't figure it out. Your 8 year old was unlikely to ever get far enough in the game to have that option, and if he did that was unusual enough where chances are it's not going to be an issue with the kid or the parents (as odd as that sounds).

Today you put child killing in a game, and it's liable to be a game where any kid can virtually toddle up, hit the "Start" button, and pick up a controller and start ripping people to shreds with automatic weapon fire (heck in say Fallout 2, even getting a gun was a big step, you started out with a bloody spear), and will be blowing kids to pieces almost instantly.

In short, the casuals ARE to blame for a lot of the problems, as is the industry that caters to them, and strives to make every game as accessible as possible regardless of it's content. If things like the now-infamous "No Russian" mission were something 90% of gamers would never be able to access, it would not have been an issue, but they made it so something that morally ambigious was readily accessible to any kid or goober with a few hours to kill and brain wave activity.

I think approachability is a good barrier to content. As I've said before I think "M" rated games should be designed on an adult/fairly intellectual level, not just including that kind of content in a way anyone can experience it. The more extreme the content level of a game, the more complicated the game should be.

Launcelot111:

The argument that "Hardcore games aren't for grandmas" is absolutely moronic (I'm going to pretend your proverbial novice gamer is your grandma). Your grandma has never played video games, and you suddenly expect her to master a fairly novel method of hand-eye coordination and input within a half hour. When you get your learners permit and start driving, you likely kinda sucked at it. There were lots of signs everywhere to look at and the other cars were going so fast and you were mixing up the pedals and oversteering every turn and making a general ass of yourself. At this point, no one says, "oh, driving is just too intense for you" because a)literally billions of people know how to drive and b) everyone started driving at some point and they accept that you suck now but will improve. If your grandma likes the game, maybe she will play again and improve and master the complicated control scheme, but she will need to practice, and it is beyond idiotic to expect someone else who is 70 years old to immediately pick up something and succeed to the same degree as someone else who has been gaming since age 4. And if someone can pick up a game immediately, maybe you shouldn't dismiss it as casual and instead appreciate that the developer was able to make such an intuitive control scheme. Judging their understanding of the game mechanics/objectives is a little more fair, but again, the complexity of the HUD or resource management or other game conventions along those lines are completely new concepts, and they take adjusting to. You're throwing people in the deep end on their first go, and if your grandma is really hardcore, she will work her way through the simpler games first and come out the other side wanting more.

You missed his point entirely. He was saying that if that hypothetical grandma with no gaming experience could pick up the game and play it immediately, then it's a casual game. If she's still struggling with the basics a half hour in, it's a hardcore game. It's the difference between Wii Sports and a mouse and keyboard controlled FPS, and the point isn't that she can't pick it up, but that it takes time and effort for her to do so.

Edit: And to make it clear that I didn't miss your point, what you're saying is that intuitive doesn't have to mean casual. What he was saying is that what your average gamer takes to be intuitive is freakin' byzantine to someone with no experience in the medium. Seriously, sit someone who has no experience with 3D games down with an FPS sometime. Doesn't matter if it's mouse and keyboard or dual analog, they're going to spend most of their time looking at the floor. These systems, which we as core gamers take for granted, are nowhere near as intuitive as we think they are.

Therumancer:

In short, the casuals ARE to blame for a lot of the problems, as is the industry that caters to them, and strives to make every game as accessible as possible regardless of it's content. If things like the now-infamous "No Russian" mission were something 90% of gamers would never be able to access, it would not have been an issue, but they made it so something that morally ambigious was readily accessible to any kid or goober with a few hours to kill and brain wave activity.

Your whole post perfectly and seamlessly sums up all the points of the issue and leaves no shadow of a doubt as to what the problems and solutions are. +1, sir.

/thread.

...And Batman would win.

"Casual" and "Hardcore" are rather meaningless terms.

I'm just sick of developers trying to make their games sell more via 'shallow and easy' instead of 'approachable and deep.'

And, for the record, some "Casual" games sport a lot more depth than many of the arbitrarily M-rated "Hardcore" games. Plants VS Zombies has FAR more depth than the games that consist of:
X -> Forward -> Cover -> Shoot -> X
on an infinite loop, leading up to a disappointing payoff.

XMark:
Here's my hardcore vs casual test:
1) Imagine a person who has never played the game, nor any game with similar game mechanics
2) Imagine that person playing the game for half an hour

If the person is still completely ineffective at the game, and confused at even the basic controls and game mechanics, it's a hardcore game.

For a real world example, load up any FPS or RTS game, and hand your grandmother the controller.

Casual games may be difficult to master, but they're universally easy to pick up and play regardless of prior gaming experience, and that's where the difference lies.

Human Revolution is easy for a new gamer to familiarize themselves with, (mostly due to a good tutorial section). (Streamlining of RPG elements aside,) would you call it "casual?"

Approachability is not a bad thing. In most cases, if a dev. can't make their game reasonably approachable without a 2-week business conference, they have failed at their job.

Nonsense concept.

Video games by design are hardly anything more than time sinks designed to allow a consumer to "win". They are toys... the idea framed in this way is simply an argument at who is better playing with toys and which toys are better.

Guess what... toy.

"but... but..."

No.

Toys.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Launcelot111:

The argument that "Hardcore games aren't for grandmas" is absolutely moronic (I'm going to pretend your proverbial novice gamer is your grandma). Your grandma has never played video games, and you suddenly expect her to master a fairly novel method of hand-eye coordination and input within a half hour. When you get your learners permit and start driving, you likely kinda sucked at it. There were lots of signs everywhere to look at and the other cars were going so fast and you were mixing up the pedals and oversteering every turn and making a general ass of yourself. At this point, no one says, "oh, driving is just too intense for you" because a)literally billions of people know how to drive and b) everyone started driving at some point and they accept that you suck now but will improve. If your grandma likes the game, maybe she will play again and improve and master the complicated control scheme, but she will need to practice, and it is beyond idiotic to expect someone else who is 70 years old to immediately pick up something and succeed to the same degree as someone else who has been gaming since age 4. And if someone can pick up a game immediately, maybe you shouldn't dismiss it as casual and instead appreciate that the developer was able to make such an intuitive control scheme. Judging their understanding of the game mechanics/objectives is a little more fair, but again, the complexity of the HUD or resource management or other game conventions along those lines are completely new concepts, and they take adjusting to. You're throwing people in the deep end on their first go, and if your grandma is really hardcore, she will work her way through the simpler games first and come out the other side wanting more.

You missed his point entirely. He was saying that if that hypothetical grandma with no gaming experience could pick up the game and play it immediately, then it's a casual game. If she's still struggling with the basics a half hour in, it's a hardcore game. It's the difference between Wii Sports and a mouse and keyboard controlled FPS, and the point isn't that she can't pick it up, but that it takes time and effort for her to do so.

Edit: And to make it clear that I didn't miss your point, what you're saying is that intuitive doesn't have to mean casual. What he was saying is that what your average gamer takes to be intuitive is freakin' byzantine to someone with no experience in the medium. Seriously, sit someone who has no experience with 3D games down with an FPS sometime. Doesn't matter if it's mouse and keyboard or dual analog, they're going to spend most of their time looking at the floor. These systems, which we as core gamers take for granted, are nowhere near as intuitive as we think they are.

You pretty much missed my point as well in that I don't really think that there is such a thing as casual games. I think that there are casual players but no games that are inherently casual, just less complex than others. Sure, FPS and RTS games are demanding in terms of knowing mechanics or input when compared to Wii Sports, but I do not see FPS and RTS as hardcore games but instead as complex games played by hardcore gamers. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are very popular with casual gamers. Their controls have clear connection to real world things, so it's easy to pick up and learn, but the upper difficulties are brutal and take ages of practice. Is it casual or is it easy to learn, hard to master? Katamari Damacy is as simple in concept and in controls as you can get with an analog controller, but I don't know of any grandmas playing it. Why is it not casual? In LA Noire you can skip driving and shooting, which leaves interrogating and finding clues, neither of which are complex affairs. IS LA Noire now casual because your grandma would figure it out?

I see that your point is that hardcore games can't be picked up and played with no prior experience and your claim that that in itself defines the hardcore game. With no experience manipulating controllers, every game becomes a hardcore game outside of the Guitar Hero/DDR/Singstar/Wii realm, which again connect clearly to the real world and thus appeal to casual gamers. The controller makes a huge difference and is one of the biggest barriers between casual gamers and more complex games, because a new gamer could perfectly understand the principles behind playing Call of Duty but they just lack the experience with a controller to act on this understanding.

I think that we're pretty much arguing over semantics at this point, but I'd just like to reiterate my view that the distinction between casual and hardcore lies entirely in the interests and playing habits of the gamer. People here complain about the rise of hand-holding in games, but I see that as catering to the person with a real interest in games but without the fundamental skills in controls and in knowing gaming traditions. You seem to see these people as casual, but I see them as hardcore but simply terrible at video games

GethBall:
No such thing as a hardcore or casual gamer.

imahobbit4062:
Now, shall we move on to a topic worth discussing?

Yes, we shall, Batman vs Garrus Vakarian, who would win in a fight?

Batman, Because he probably already has a file on Garrus which in great detail describes him on both a psychological, and physiological level; pointing out every weakness and habit which Batman would use to destroy Garrus.

Launcelot111:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Launcelot111:

The argument that "Hardcore games aren't for grandmas" is absolutely moronic (I'm going to pretend your proverbial novice gamer is your grandma). Your grandma has never played video games, and you suddenly expect her to master a fairly novel method of hand-eye coordination and input within a half hour. When you get your learners permit and start driving, you likely kinda sucked at it. There were lots of signs everywhere to look at and the other cars were going so fast and you were mixing up the pedals and oversteering every turn and making a general ass of yourself. At this point, no one says, "oh, driving is just too intense for you" because a)literally billions of people know how to drive and b) everyone started driving at some point and they accept that you suck now but will improve. If your grandma likes the game, maybe she will play again and improve and master the complicated control scheme, but she will need to practice, and it is beyond idiotic to expect someone else who is 70 years old to immediately pick up something and succeed to the same degree as someone else who has been gaming since age 4. And if someone can pick up a game immediately, maybe you shouldn't dismiss it as casual and instead appreciate that the developer was able to make such an intuitive control scheme. Judging their understanding of the game mechanics/objectives is a little more fair, but again, the complexity of the HUD or resource management or other game conventions along those lines are completely new concepts, and they take adjusting to. You're throwing people in the deep end on their first go, and if your grandma is really hardcore, she will work her way through the simpler games first and come out the other side wanting more.

You missed his point entirely. He was saying that if that hypothetical grandma with no gaming experience could pick up the game and play it immediately, then it's a casual game. If she's still struggling with the basics a half hour in, it's a hardcore game. It's the difference between Wii Sports and a mouse and keyboard controlled FPS, and the point isn't that she can't pick it up, but that it takes time and effort for her to do so.

Edit: And to make it clear that I didn't miss your point, what you're saying is that intuitive doesn't have to mean casual. What he was saying is that what your average gamer takes to be intuitive is freakin' byzantine to someone with no experience in the medium. Seriously, sit someone who has no experience with 3D games down with an FPS sometime. Doesn't matter if it's mouse and keyboard or dual analog, they're going to spend most of their time looking at the floor. These systems, which we as core gamers take for granted, are nowhere near as intuitive as we think they are.

You pretty much missed my point as well in that I don't really think that there is such a thing as casual games. I think that there are casual players but no games that are inherently casual, just less complex than others. Sure, FPS and RTS games are demanding in terms of knowing mechanics or input when compared to Wii Sports, but I do not see FPS and RTS as hardcore games but instead as complex games played by hardcore gamers. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are very popular with casual gamers. Their controls have clear connection to real world things, so it's easy to pick up and learn, but the upper difficulties are brutal and take ages of practice. Is it casual or is it easy to learn, hard to master? Katamari Damacy is as simple in concept and in controls as you can get with an analog controller, but I don't know of any grandmas playing it. Why is it not casual? In LA Noire you can skip driving and shooting, which leaves interrogating and finding clues, neither of which are complex affairs. IS LA Noire now casual because your grandma would figure it out?

I see that your point is that hardcore games can't be picked up and played with no prior experience and your claim that that in itself defines the hardcore game. With no experience manipulating controllers, every game becomes a hardcore game outside of the Guitar Hero/DDR/Singstar/Wii realm, which again connect clearly to the real world and thus appeal to casual gamers. The controller makes a huge difference and is one of the biggest barriers between casual gamers and more complex games, because a new gamer could perfectly understand the principles behind playing Call of Duty but they just lack the experience with a controller to act on this understanding.

I think that we're pretty much arguing over semantics at this point, but I'd just like to reiterate my view that the distinction between casual and hardcore lies entirely in the interests and playing habits of the gamer. People here complain about the rise of hand-holding in games, but I see that as catering to the person with a real interest in games but without the fundamental skills in controls and in knowing gaming traditions. You seem to see these people as casual, but I see them as hardcore but simply terrible at video games

You forgot Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Peggle...

The point is, there are games that are aimed at a casual crowd. These games have control schemes that truly are intuitive; my point, and I'm assuming the point of the individual you initially quoted, is that the truly intuitive games and the games that gamers consider intuitive are not one and the same; one set requires absolutely no prior knowledge of the medium, they can be figured out quite quickly. The other set is like driving a car; once you know how, it's easy enough to switch to a different make, intuitive even. But getting behind the wheel that first time is terrifying.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Launcelot111:

Owyn_Merrilin:

You missed his point entirely. He was saying that if that hypothetical grandma with no gaming experience could pick up the game and play it immediately, then it's a casual game. If she's still struggling with the basics a half hour in, it's a hardcore game. It's the difference between Wii Sports and a mouse and keyboard controlled FPS, and the point isn't that she can't pick it up, but that it takes time and effort for her to do so.

Edit: And to make it clear that I didn't miss your point, what you're saying is that intuitive doesn't have to mean casual. What he was saying is that what your average gamer takes to be intuitive is freakin' byzantine to someone with no experience in the medium. Seriously, sit someone who has no experience with 3D games down with an FPS sometime. Doesn't matter if it's mouse and keyboard or dual analog, they're going to spend most of their time looking at the floor. These systems, which we as core gamers take for granted, are nowhere near as intuitive as we think they are.

You pretty much missed my point as well in that I don't really think that there is such a thing as casual games. I think that there are casual players but no games that are inherently casual, just less complex than others. Sure, FPS and RTS games are demanding in terms of knowing mechanics or input when compared to Wii Sports, but I do not see FPS and RTS as hardcore games but instead as complex games played by hardcore gamers. Guitar Hero and Rock Band are very popular with casual gamers. Their controls have clear connection to real world things, so it's easy to pick up and learn, but the upper difficulties are brutal and take ages of practice. Is it casual or is it easy to learn, hard to master? Katamari Damacy is as simple in concept and in controls as you can get with an analog controller, but I don't know of any grandmas playing it. Why is it not casual? In LA Noire you can skip driving and shooting, which leaves interrogating and finding clues, neither of which are complex affairs. IS LA Noire now casual because your grandma would figure it out?

I see that your point is that hardcore games can't be picked up and played with no prior experience and your claim that that in itself defines the hardcore game. With no experience manipulating controllers, every game becomes a hardcore game outside of the Guitar Hero/DDR/Singstar/Wii realm, which again connect clearly to the real world and thus appeal to casual gamers. The controller makes a huge difference and is one of the biggest barriers between casual gamers and more complex games, because a new gamer could perfectly understand the principles behind playing Call of Duty but they just lack the experience with a controller to act on this understanding.

I think that we're pretty much arguing over semantics at this point, but I'd just like to reiterate my view that the distinction between casual and hardcore lies entirely in the interests and playing habits of the gamer. People here complain about the rise of hand-holding in games, but I see that as catering to the person with a real interest in games but without the fundamental skills in controls and in knowing gaming traditions. You seem to see these people as casual, but I see them as hardcore but simply terrible at video games

You forgot Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Peggle...

The point is, there are games that are aimed at a casual crowd. These games have control schemes that truly are intuitive; my point, and I'm assuming the point of the individual you initially quoted, is that the truly intuitive games and the games that gamers consider intuitive are not one and the same; one set requires absolutely no prior knowledge of the medium, they can be figured out quite quickly. The other set is like driving a car; once you know how, it's easy enough to switch to a different make, intuitive even. But getting behind the wheel that first time is terrifying.

So we are at an understanding! The casual gamer doesn't care too much about the world of gaming, so they stick to what is obvious, while the hardcore gamer is interested enough by what is out there to risk a few speed bumps to immerse themselves in the more complex stuff and get that necessary experience.

My favorite part of most games is the story, characters, and world that the developers create, and it's always interested me that these aspects are completely absent from games casual gamers play except for the barest of frameworks necessary to explain gameplay (the pigs took your eggs! Get your revenge!). I've always wondered how many people out there would like to get the storytelling experience of the more complex games but are deterred by the difficulty of gameplay. It's clear that many companies are catering to this mysterious demographic, but I've never gotten any idea of how many people were clamoring for this change in the first place.

It's simple.

Causal player plays angry birds to pass each level and get all the levels finished

Hardcore player will try and 3 star every level.

Casual players will buy fighting games to play story mode and play a bit but will never get past medium difficulty

Hardcore players will learn the characters moves down to a T understanding where certain combos are acceptable and learning how to react to their opponents without losing.

You see my point? A hardcore player treats each game like a test to see how quickly he/she will become great at it. It's the desire to master that is the difference.

Owyn_Merrilin:

veloper:
The industry seperates the CORE from the casual.
Games are designed and marketed towards such audiences that companies recognize as casual (for them are kid's games, party games, many wii titles, etc.) or core.

Hardcore doesn't come into it and is a seperate thing that doesn't really get catered to.

Funny thing is how everyone has atleast some idea of what casual means, but many love to deny there's a diffference.
Anyone here on the Escapist boards with more than just a few troll topics to his or her name is CORE, not casual. Too late to deny you have much interest in games now.

You know, that might explain why I remember hardcore being something people commonly self identified as well over a decade ago, rather than something recently cooked up by marketers, as a lot of people around here like to claim it is. They may be getting the idea of a core audience member confused with the idea of a hardcore gamer.

To end the confusion, whe should first make the clear distinction between the audience, the play and the game.

First there's the split in audiences, which is how the money flows:
1. core audiences - for examples we need look no further than these boards (triple-A budgets go here)
2. casual audiences - may occasionally play simple games while other hobbies always come first

Then there's the varying interest in play between:
hardcore play (example: top ladder Starcraft players) to
casual play, when you're NOT interested in a challenge or getting better at a certain game (can still be a CORE audience member, but playing for example, a different game genre) and anything in between.

Finally there's the games, which are the hardest to categorize:
1. casual game - always easy to to learn and often easy to master aswell and usually intended for casual play by a casual audience
2. core game - a game marketed at a wider audience, including core audiences and will typically have higher production values(fancy graphics, voice-acting, etc)
3. hardcore game - a game that just happens to be compatible with hardcore play (challenging gameplay; winning requires skill, not just grinding or luck; a learning curve that takes skill and practice to master).

The distinction here is trickier because a hardcore game is often marketed as a core game (ex. Starcraft 2). Hardcore players are too small in number to seriously cater to and still make money. RTS games and fighting games come closest to being hardcore genres, but they need core players to buy the game.

The audience, the interest and the game don't fit into neat casual/core columns and that's where the whole argument springs from.

Hardcore RTS games can also be played casually (usually the campaign mode).
RPGs for the core audience are nowadays almost always designed around casual play (but with the small difference that the campaigns still require some prior RPG experience or a small tutorial to learn and a "hard" difficulty setting to master).
Sometimes a core game(big budget, triple-A and marketed as such) only allows easy, casual play, so you cannot blame anyone for calling it a "casual game". Fable 3 is an infamous example.
Coming full circle, a hardcore or pro SC player who has no interest in playing anything beside SC and maybe mess with some iphone games to pass the time while travelling, belongs the casual audience. He's a hardcore SC player, but not a hardcore gamer.

Playing other stuff than COD and Fifa usually.

ToastyMozart:

XMark:
Here's my hardcore vs casual test:
1) Imagine a person who has never played the game, nor any game with similar game mechanics
2) Imagine that person playing the game for half an hour

If the person is still completely ineffective at the game, and confused at even the basic controls and game mechanics, it's a hardcore game.

For a real world example, load up any FPS or RTS game, and hand your grandmother the controller.

Casual games may be difficult to master, but they're universally easy to pick up and play regardless of prior gaming experience, and that's where the difference lies.

Human Revolution is easy for a new gamer to familiarize themselves with, (mostly due to a good tutorial section). (Streamlining of RPG elements aside,) would you call it "casual?"

Approachability is not a bad thing. In most cases, if a dev. can't make their game reasonably approachable without a 2-week business conference, they have failed at their job.

I would not call Human Revolution or any FPS casual. We may take FPS controls for granted, but anyone who hasn't played an FPS will find themselves bumping into walls, unable to aim at enemies, and frequently looking at floors and ceilings.

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