Chapter 1 - A Casual Revolution
"The casual revolution in the title of this book is a breakthrough moment in the history of video games. This is the moment in which the simplicity of early video games is being rediscovered, while new flexible designs are letting video games fit into the lives of players. Video games are being reinvented, and so is our image of those who play the games. This is the moment when we realise that everybody can be a video game player."
"The video game’s pull is a subjective experience that depends on what games you have played, your personal tastes, and whether you are willing to give the game the time it asks for."
In the book the author is looking into why some people do not choose to play video games, and why an emerging new audience has started to play video games. By doing so, he focuses on the casual games industry.
Two main trends of casual games revolution:
1- Mimetic interfaces (Wii, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero etc.)
2-Downloadable casual games
As a result of the revolution major game developers needed to rewire the companies to be able to design games for the new audience.
The rise of casual games has industry-wide implications and changes the conditions for game developers, pushing developers to make games for a broader audience. It is harder to find funding for games that only go after a narrow hardcore audience.
The rise of casual games influences the development of other video games as well.
The author discusses who are the "casual players" and "hardcore players" and the stereotypes.
*A casual player may spend as much time playing as a hardcore player.
Games as well as players can be flexible or inflexible: where a casual game is flexible toward different types of players and uses, a hardcore game makes inflexible and unconditional demands on the skill and commitment of a player. Conversely, where a casual player is inflexible toward doing what a game requires, a hardcore player is flexible toward making whatever commitment a game may demand.
*Preference of the player depends on what fits the best into their lives.
"One would think that making games that fit into people’s lives was therefore the single most important problem that the video game industry had been working to solve. But in fact, the industry has spent decades solving an entirely different problem, that of how to create the best graphics possible."
Chapter 4 - Innovations and Clones: The Gradual Evolution of Downloadable Casual Games
"On the big portals at any hour, tens or hundreds of thousands of players gather to play Hearts, Spades, Canasta, chess, backgammon..."
Downloadable casual games: "You are totally relaxed, you cannot concentrate on anything else, but at the same time you can be thinking about other things in the back of your mind."
In the early years of downloadable casual games, matching tile games (Bejeweled) was the bestselling game type.
D.C.G. played an important role in bringing industry and popular awareness to the fact that video games could reach outside their assumed audience of young men.
A 2006 study of players of downloadable casual games reported that 71 percent of the audience was female, with the majority being over 35 years of age.
The game industry has been reluctant to acknowledge the possibility of marketing outside the traditional market of young men.
Matching the tile games remained popular in the downloadable casual games channels. They have low barrier to entry: designed to be usable, and hence does not signal specific knowledge of video games. They are at odds with a more traditional video game ethic that demand games to be challenging and punishing.
Matching tile games are very simple games that contain a minimum of elements, but for the very same reason even the smallest variation in design has large repercussions.