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Blastfrog

PC vs. Console, Casual vs. Hardcore

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So, last night I was pointlessly debating someone about different kinds of gamers.

http://pastebin.com/K5daDmxm

I'm posting this hoping to spark a conversation here about these market trends of consolizing and casualizing everything.

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It's called "making money". If you make a broad-appeal, easy-to-pick-up product, more people will buy it. Standardising games to run on consoles, with well-established user bases and very familiar controllers is a very smart move from a marketing perspective. Obscure, particularly difficult or niche-appeal titles that only run on some sort of two-generations-previous hardware aren't going to be quite the same draw. It really is that simple.

Besides, us "hard-core" types can still enjoy casual or console-based games, particularly when there's difficulty settings and a range of extra challenges (achievements, for example) to get our kicks from. A great example of a game that has broad appeal and also works for hard-core enthusiasts would actually be Call of Duty. A lot of people play it for the online - some of those are there to be top-ranking players, or members of the best clans (they are still called clans these days?). A lot of people also like the easily digestible, 5-6 hour story spectacle of the single-player. The additional things (like Zombies or Spec Ops) add to the challenge and replayability of the game. Chuck in the difficulty modes, offline split-screen support and the odd easter egg (Dead Ops: Arcade) and there's a lot of game there. Plus you get a new one every year if you're really enjoying the gameplay and want to freshen up the map set, campaign story experience and all of that. The alternating settings/franchises make it even more varied and interesting for the fans.

Or another example (and a favourite of mine) - the Forza Motorsport series. Hundreds and hundreds of offline races with a range of specifications, plus a very customisable difficulty level. This is also designed to appeal to hard-core petrol-heads (or gear-heads, for you yanks). The latest one (4) introduces car bowling, car football, the ability to examine certain cars in ridiculous detail and each iteration brings hundreds of new cars to the table, with different class balances as a result. There's some heavy-duty car customisation there as well, plus a large online scene. You can spend 100s of hours on the game (like me), or you can have a very casual experience where you barely even have to drive the car and can just do a few races when you feel like, perhaps checking out some of your dream cars or just seeing what the huge selection has to offer.

I think this constant "us vs. them" attitude just sparks of what somebody said in the metal thread earlier: your music tastes (or taste in games) might seem cool - then you meet the fans and kind of feel a bit ashamed.

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Phobus said:

stuff

I agree 100% on everything you just said. I understand that they need to make a profit on console stuff, and that they need to make wide-appealing games, and that "hardcore" gamers can be just as into "casual" games as they would for "hardcore" games. I never argued against that once.

What I was primarily trying to get at in that debate was that I think it'd be really nice if they tried to make their games even more wide-appealing. I was using Metroid Prime on the PC for an example. Most people would still play the console versions. If there was an official PC port, that would make many people happy that they could play using WASD/Mouse controls instead of a GC controller/Wiimote, and Nintendo could make some extra money on the PC port.

This would allow them to tap into a market that already demands these things. People clearly want to do this stuff, because they use emulators. Nintendo could tap into this and provide an official version that's more polished than using an emulator.

And look at how many people use Glovepie to use a Wiimote on the PC. Nintendo could make a good amount of money selling official PC-compatible Wiimotes.

Again, there's clearly a demand for this, and I think they should seize the opportunity.

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I gave up reading about 1/3 in because I found myself agreeing with your friend way more than you and because everything you seem really uninformed. Especially saying SMB3 was casual. If that game doesn't require a degree of dedication more than just "Imma sit down and play this here vidyagame for a while", I don't know what does.

Also everything Phobus said.

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I lied, I'm reading more of this and I'm LOL'ing.

What makes a game "casual" or not is whether the game requires more than just sitting down to play it to enjoy it. A "hardcore" game requires some amount of dedication beyond that. That's it.

Customizability is irrelevant. The fact that you can make maps for Doom doesn't make it hardcore. It's still the same game, TCs and actual gameplay mods notwithstanding. I'm going to go right out and say it: Doom at it's core is a casual game. You can sit down and play it for a while, save and go get on with your day. It doesn't really even have a learning curve: Run and shoot, that's all there is to the game aside from collecting the occasional key and flipping the occasional switch--in it's purest form you don't really even need to aim that much. THATS RIGHT, DOOM HAS AUTOAIM.

And here I'm betting you were thinking Doom was a hardcore game, Sodaholic!

Also lol, Doom was designed around letting players make their own levels? They didn't even include a wad editor with the game, all that stuff was done by the community. It just so happened that it was really easy to edit the game.

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Nomad said:

I lied, I'm reading more of this and I'm LOL'ing.

I found it quite humorous myself, actually. :P

Nomad said:

Also lol, Doom was designed around letting players make their own levels? They didn't even include a wad editor with the game, all that stuff was done by the community. It just so happened that it was really easy to edit the game.

Well, no, they didn't release any utilities, but it was specifically designed to be easy to edit, with fanmade content in mind.

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The WAD data structure was designed with that in mind, the game was not necessarily designed with player customization in mind--which if that were true, things like DeHackEd would never have been necessary. To me, the latter makes it too easy for devs to be lazy and make shitty games, with the idea that "The players will make it better." I don't think that's what the id guys had in mind either.

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Nomad said:

The WAD data structure was designed with that in mind, the game was not necessarily designed with player customization in mind. To me, the latter makes it too easy for devs to be lazy and make shitty games, with the idea that "The players will make it better." I don't think that's what the id guys had in mind either.

I never said that they wanted the fans to improve upon it, I was merely stating that they designed the PWAD system with fan mods in mind. Of course they wanted to focus on making the core game good, I never said that they didn't.

So basically, I agree with you completely.

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Sure, but you're missing the point: Customization is irrelevant to a game being "hardcore" or not. Starcraft, for example, allowed for maps and mods, but that has nothing to do with what caused it to be the life and death of Koreans for the last 10+ years.

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I more so meant that hardcore gamers are more likely to be into making and playing mods, rather than the games themselves being hardcore or casual. I didn't clarify that earlier though, sorry about that.

The whole debate (on my end anyway) was generally more about the kinds of gamers and the markets and content that appeals to them, rather than the other way around.

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Your friend was clearly arguing the other point. Maybe that's why the conversation is so funny, because you two are talking about two totally different things.

[...]was generally more about the kinds of gamers and the markets and content that appeals to them, rather than the other way around.


On THAT note, I haven't totally decided how it works for games, but I know with music that I tend to find songs that are written just for the audience are boring and uninspired. I'd say that's the problem with "modern" games rather than whether it's "casual" or "hardcore," because either type can be fun.

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2012 GAMING SUBCATEGORY DEFINITIONS

Casual game: An indie game, usually 2-dimensional, which requires a reasonable amount of intelligence and puzzle-solving ability to play. This type of game can be played for a little while and then put down, so the player can engage in activities outside the sphere of gaming(i.e. a life). The game may also lead to an increase in mental acuity due to it's method of causing the player to use his brain in order to advance the plot or storyline.

Hardcore game: A game crafted by a major developer(possessing tons of cash to throw at marketing of said game), usually 3-dimensional, which requires only the most basic cognitive ability and amounts to little more than a barely-interactive CG movie. The game will feature a design that encourages marathon playing, and/or grinding, so that the player is continually enticed to keep going so that he may obtain another seratonin reuptake. The perfect hardcore gamer eventually commits suicide by ignoring his instincts to sleep, eat, and use the restroom.

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Vordakk said:

2012 GAMING SUBCATEGORY DEFINITIONS

Casual game: An indie game, usually 2-dimensional, which requires a reasonable amount of intelligence and puzzle-solving ability to play. This type of game can be played for a little while and then put down, so the player can engage in activities outside the sphere of gaming(i.e. a life). The game may also lead to an increase in mental acuity due to it's method of causing the player to use his brain in order to advance the plot or storyline.

Hardcore game: A game crafted by a major developer(possessing tons of cash to throw at marketing of said game), usually 3-dimensional, which requires only the most basic cognitive ability and amounts to little more than a barely-interactive CG movie. The game will feature a design that encourages marathon playing, and/or grinding, so that the player is continually enticed to keep going so that he may obtain another seratonin reuptake. The perfect hardcore gamer eventually commits suicide by ignoring his instincts to sleep, eat, and use the restroom.

Perfect.

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It's not often I find myself agreeing with Vordakk in the EE forum, but fuck me if he didn't nail the point there. Angry Birds is probably the poster-child for that definition of "Casual" as it's essentially a physics-based puzzle-solving game where each puzzle is it's own level. A very simple game-play idea that requires a lot of understanding as the levels advance and get more complicated. The fact that it's sold so well and is ported to most relevant modern technologies definitely speaks in it's favour too.

@Nomad: Yeah, I'd say Doom is definitely works as a casual game. This becomes particularly evident to me when I think about my preferred levels to play (small, easily digestable ones that won't require hours of mulching to get through). Also ties in well with what I said about Angry Birds - it's a simple mechanic that takes a lot of mastering as the levels become more complex (strafe-running, obscured switches, tougher fights and more dangerous monsters being the more obvious examples). Notably, Doom also took the world by storm in it's day :P

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Hmm.. I think I have hardcore gaming and casual gaming misunderstood. I was always under the impression that casual gaming was a field of games that kinda walk with the player and hold his hand every step of the way, let them watch awesome cinematic visuals as an effect of doing really basic tasks, and are generally targeted at everyone (despite most of them being rated mature) and make them feel comfortable playing a game they can be good at whether they are a gamer or not.

And hardcore games were games that required the player to have a strong understanding of the game's mechanics to complete, using their fast reflexes, multi-tasking abilities, and puzzle solving skills to beat certain levels and areas.

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40oz said:

I was always under the impression that casual gaming was a field of games that kinda walk with the player and hold his hand every step of the way, let them watch awesome cinematic visuals as an effect of doing really basic tasks, and are generally targeted at everyone (despite most of them being rated mature) and make them feel comfortable playing a game they can be good at whether they are a gamer or not.

And hardcore games were games that required the player to have a strong understanding of the game's mechanics to complete, using their fast reflexes, multi-tasking abilities, and puzzle solving skills to beat certain levels and areas.

That's exactly how I've always viewed things.

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40oz said:

Hmm.. I think I have hardcore gaming and casual gaming misunderstood. I was always under the impression that casual gaming was a field of games that kinda walk with the player and hold his hand every step of the way, let them watch awesome cinematic visuals as an effect of doing really basic tasks, and are generally targeted at everyone (despite most of them being rated mature) and make them feel comfortable playing a game they can be good at whether they are a gamer or not.

And hardcore games were games that required the player to have a strong understanding of the game's mechanics to complete, using their fast reflexes, multi-tasking abilities, and puzzle solving skills to beat certain levels and areas.


That's been my assumption as well.

The thing is that there's a lot of poorly designed games may seem hardcore because it expects you to understand the underlying mechanics, but either never gives you a chance to notice a pattern or changes the game up in a way that you aren't warned about beforehand. Quit a few "old school" games are poorly designed, but nobody really cared back then because that shit was new. Now that gaming has been around for a while, developers are getting a better grasp of how to explain mechanics, plot the game out and tell the player what to do in a way that's understandable, like using lighting to guide the player to the goal. You won't see anything like old Sierra text adventures or obtuse mech games anymore because developers now know those games were riddled with poor design choices, even though they make the game harder.

When I see hardcore gamers pine for more "old school" games, I think they tend to just want games with poorly explained or designed mechanics simply because they make the game artificially hard and prevent "casuals" from playing. I don't mind a challenge, but not when it's because the game decides not to tell me something important or has a game mechanic/control layout/whatever that makes the game a bitch to use (like a game with overly complex controls that happily punishes you if you don't exactly how to use all of them within an hour or so). That's bullshit.

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Vordakk said:

2012 GAMING SUBCATEGORY DEFINITIONS

Casual game: An indie game, usually 2-dimensional, which requires a reasonable amount of intelligence and puzzle-solving ability to play. This type of game can be played for a little while and then put down, so the player can engage in activities outside the sphere of gaming(i.e. a life). The game may also lead to an increase in mental acuity due to it's method of causing the player to use his brain in order to advance the plot or storyline.

Hardcore game: A game crafted by a major developer(possessing tons of cash to throw at marketing of said game), usually 3-dimensional, which requires only the most basic cognitive ability and amounts to little more than a barely-interactive CG movie. The game will feature a design that encourages marathon playing, and/or grinding, so that the player is continually enticed to keep going so that he may obtain another seratonin reuptake. The perfect hardcore gamer eventually commits suicide by ignoring his instincts to sleep, eat, and use the restroom.


Bump.

Seriously well spoken.

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Gatling said:

Bump.

Seriously well spoken.

Rock 'n roll, dude! I give this bump a B+

You could have gone older if only you had performed a proper forum search!

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Because that would require people to think by themselves, and not allow them to quickly evaluate games as good or bad nor players as us vs them, and such things are scary.

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If you feel the need to legitimise your hobby by attaching a qualitative label onto it, then have serious words with yourself; preferably with a noose or other hanging knot as a mediator.

This thread is terrible. Just enjoy the damn games, okay?

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Wanna create a bilious, vitriolic flamewar? Just mention the word "competitive". Hilarity ensues.

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How is lower grpahical settings a feature that consoles seriously need?
For a small while I played games on a lower-end PC while my normal PC was being repaired, and it was horrible. Portal, Oblivion, and Fallout 3 in particular. I couldnt see through my Portals or else it ran at 3 FPS, Oblivion's NPC's went further into the Uncanny Valley, Fallout 3 straight up wouldn't run, and when it did it moved at a snail's pace, stuttered, and crashed before I could get out of the Vault.

EDIT: STILL READING AND ALL THE SELF-CONTRADICTION IS GIVING ME A HEADACHE.

EDIT2:I ENDED UP AGREEING WITH WITH THE OTHER GUY. WHY CANT YOU JUST DO THE UTTERLY INSANE THING OF ENJOYING THE GAME.


I can feel my IQ drop. Not joking.

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I don't see any reason for there not being graphical options in console games. Developers have a nasty habit of choosing visual flair over performance, often to a degree many people such as myself find unacceptable. I remember being very annoyed over how bad GTA3 ran on the PS2. Thankfully, in the options I discovered a setting for motion blur and by turning that off it increased the framerate significantly.

Not to mention how this generation's utter excess of post-processing effects often actually makes the games look worse than if I turn them off. I often disable things like stupid film grain filters or tastelessly applied DOF.

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If games would stop worrying about keeping to a 30fps framerate and just worry about fucking gameplay at 60fps I would play more console games than stupid Call of Doody Modern Gayfuckstupid 3 and stupid Ass Creed Revelations

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