More Self-Important Pimping

Another article for the good people at The Escapist. This one’s on casual gaming.

Now, as I said last time, I’m vastly improved by being edited. But the guy who edits me (who, in a vastly amusing coincidence, got his start by writing for the same website I did at the same time I did – it’s a small, small world, be NICE to people on your way through it) and I disagreed on the ending sentence.

I will not tell you who won, or who wrote which bit. Do not assume he won, by the way – when he’s right, he’s right, and he usually is, but as the author I have some latitude.

Here’s a thought experiment. Read the article, and vote on what ending you think would have worked the best. Eventually I’ll get around to explaining who wrote what.

“Instead, casual is gaming in its purest form: Fun when it’s convenient for you.”

“Instead, casual is cost-free immediate gratification.”

“Instead, casual is the refinement of gaming’s good parts, separating the endorphin rush from all the frustration and downtime.”



  1. Zappa said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I like ““Instead, casual is gaming in its purest form: Fun when it’s convenient for you.”” the best. And nice story.

  2. mystery said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    I like the 3rd the best. I read the first with an awkward pause: It’s like 2 sentence fragments (see?). The 2nd seems too short.

  3. Cuppycake said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I also like the third. =)

  4. David Burke said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    The first is my favourite. It is simple and highlights the reverse in which one plays to meet in-game obligations.

  5. Amber said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    “Instead, casual is gaming in its purest form: Fun when it’s convenient for you.”

    Concise and to the point.

    The second example reads awkward. The alliteration is nice, but the last 2 words read like I have marbles in my (mental) mouth. It also (IMHO) doesn’t really summarize the article in the way that the first sentence does. The third example is unnecessarily verbose and diluted.

    Did I win? 🙂

  6. JdJdJd said,

    August 17, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    I think the one used actually works the best. Very nice article by the way.

  7. Beno said,

    August 17, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    I vote for Door #1, it’s clean and direct.

  8. Scott said,

    August 17, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Another vote for #1

  9. Vanity said,

    August 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I agree with Amber. The third sentence seems overly complicated and doesn’t match the rest of the article. The second seems too dumbed down. I think the first sums it up the best.

  10. Matennon said,

    August 17, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I think the first one says it best.

  11. Sumyung Guy said,

    August 17, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    First one.

  12. Jason said,

    August 17, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    i think whoever wrote this is mostly correct.

    I think that the reason try to belittle people who invest large amounts of time(4-8 hours a day) into a game is because of the stigma attached to the gaming world. One of my best friends plays DAoC with me a lot, and he even tries to belittle the game itself because I think he feels that by playing a game for 4 hours a night he is some sort of geek or something. Its not that hard of a thing to believe though, to the majority of people(or at least it appears that way to most gamers) that “gaming” whether hardcore or “casual” is an immature past time, undeserving of any quantity of time.

  13. J. said,

    August 18, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Who the fuck is that guy wearing the blond wig and the lipstick?

  14. Rich said,

    August 18, 2007 at 6:23 am

    #1 Clear and to the point. And I think it’s exactly correct.

  15. Jeremy Dalberg said,

    August 18, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Adding to the pile-on – #1. #2 doesn’t make any sense after the bit that explained how 74% of players were paying actual money – “cost-free” simply isn’t true. And #3 is sort of tangential – the article didn’t really go into frustration or downtime as a factor in the gameplay experience, except in passing.

    (Did I pass? What grade do I get? :P)

  16. Taemojitsu said,

    August 18, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    But it is about attitude… and it wouldn’t have been brain chemistry that determines whether someone enjoys playing casual games, but brain structure, btw.

    People can play MMORPGs (the use of MMOGs in that article seems to suggest that a more descriptive term is necessary for MMOs based on persistent worlds and character progression..) for the same reason that people play casual games. The difference is whether or not the player thinks character persistence and the implied total effort put into a single game is worth it… whether that 10 days /played getting to the max level is something to be proud of, or a visible sign that you’ve been wasting your time.

    That is probably why gamers would have been resistant to labeling those who play casual games as “gamers”.. by acknowledging the legitimacy of those easier types of games as still making you a gamer, it puts into question the whole issue of whether achievement in the more complex type of games is even meaningful.

    Some people don’t have a strong opinion either way, of course, or have other reasons to be interested in gaming that makes no game truly a waste of time from their perspective… but not everyone thinks like that, which is why people tend towards playing one or the other types of games.

    Young people are still trying to achieve stuff, and they can use MMORPGs and other non-casual games as the way to convince themselves they’re doing that… succeeding to varying degrees depending on how they think and what the game and its environment (incl. social) offers them. Older people are generally just trying to find something fun to do, and there is sometimes the attitude that you shouldn’t get obsessed with achievement in one particular game just because it’s there.. which is why they may choose casual games, where the barrier to achievement is low.

  17. Taemojitsu said,

    August 18, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    I’ll still vote tho =p I think that, ignoring the specifics of the endings, that he won, because you wouldn’t have brought up the issue if he was wrong making it look like you were gloating or something. Looking at the specifics of the endings, the first one looks best from an editing perspective, because it presents an attractive and “meaningful” way to end an article. The second is similary “exciting” but that sensationalism is also bad because it could make casual gamers look like they focus only on the immediate, and it also ignores the whole hardcore aspect of casual gaming (lol). The third is the perspective of someone who has played MMORPGs extensively, and knows firsthand how they so often degenerate into forms which separate the hardcore from the casuals, to the detriment of casuals who do only want to play when it’s fun, and not because of some epic reward that will make them feel like they’re better than everyone else who plays the game.

    So that’s my vote!

  18. Taemojitsu said,

    August 18, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    But I have a question of my own, if anyone would like to answer it: if the defining difference really is “whether that 10 days /played getting to the max level is something to be proud of, or a visible sign that you’ve been wasting your time”… what does that mean for how casual game players vs complex/MMO-type game players treat other players who play the same types of games? And what about “casual” (play for fun and the immediate gratification of defeating a challenge or consolidating personal victories) vs “hardcore” (play for achievements compared to what other players have achieved) ((these definitions only valid for the scope of this discussion..)) players within these types of games, how can they be expected to act differently?

    In other words, getting right to the point, are traditional-style gamers more likely to develop lifelong friendships from their games?

  19. Loredena said,

    August 19, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    The first. The second isn’t correct (casual game is not necessarily, or even often, free — at least based on the games I play, which I’ve bought). The third doesn’t fit the rest of the article.

  20. montague said,

    August 19, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    1st sentence, hands down. Great article.

  21. Aufero said,

    August 19, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    The first one fit best, the second doesn’t fit at all, and while the third is an interesting claim, it doesn’t really fit the article.

    Interesting piece about a gaming demographic I was only vaguely aware of. I suspect the definition of “casual player” varies a good deal based on whether you play MMOs, console games, or the genre of casual games you covered in the article.

  22. Igniferroque said,

    August 23, 2007 at 11:59 am

    First one.

  23. drakonblayde said,

    August 24, 2007 at 9:40 am

    I think the first one is the best of the three, and I also think that’s pure Sanya.

  24. Bear said,

    August 28, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    I’ll be contrary just be be, well contrary.

    I think the breakdown should be thus…

    #1) Editor. Not only does that sentence completely disregard the first paragraph of the article, it contains a colon. Come on, who but an editor would try to construct a sentence with a colon… period.
    #2) Miscellaneous alpha-idiot from one forum or another.
    #3) Sanya. Pure gimme-gimme-gimme attitude.

    Sanya, why did you cave in? (…and you better not be using no stinking colons. /shake-fist)

  25. Michael Chui said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:50 am

    Colon-haters should die in a fire: and it should be punctuated.

    I find it perpetually annoying that people don’t use semicolons and colons. They’re there. They make a point, in and of themselves. If you insist on limiting your expressive ability in pure text, fine. It’s too bad.

  26. D Lacey said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    After reading the article, I don’t think any of the suggested final sentences quite work. The first one is the closest, but a better summing up would be more in the form of “casual is gaming that fits into a grown-up’s life” or “casual fits into the lives of people for whom gaming is a relatively low priority.”

    The problem is the penultimate sentence. “‘Casual’ has nothing to do with time, attitude, approach or the person behind the keys.” This sentence as a conclusion to the entire article says “the whole preceding article was bunk except for the single preceding paragraph.” Which is pretty much the part following the word “but.”

    All games are pretty much “fun when it’s convenient for you” really. The difference is in when is convenient for you. If nightly from 5 pm till midnight is convenient for you, you’re probably going to enjoy different games than if 15 minutes every other weekday is convenient for you.

    The article defines casual games as ones that are playable free at least initially, though they might give extra features for a charge; and that are fairly low budget. Then it goes on to point out that the demographics of these games are more broad than the demographics of higher budget, more expensive, more time consuming games.

    Maybe an even better conclusion would be. “Casual proves that simple, cheap games can be more fun, to a wider range of people, than complex and expensive ones. And still make money.” 🙂

  27. Bob the Barman said,

    September 10, 2007 at 10:59 am

    The modern World is remarkably silly and mostly irrelevant.

    Many people switch all of the remarkably silliness off, by going fishing.

    When you are fishing, you are totally focussed, totally aware, totally concentrated, on deciving a stupid fish into taking your hook. Well, if you want to catch fish you are.

    At the same time, you are totally relaxed, because it’s your most ancient subconcious brain, that is doing all the work, and having a great time in the process.

    Gaming is the same sort of ‘brain food’.

    I never found gender to have any relevance in gaming whatsoever (other than seemingly for pre-pubescent boys). This is because as soon as I started to set up home computer networks (very late 80’s I think), all my friends dived in, and girl friends, wives, and daughters, got enthusiastically stuck into gaming straight away (it’s turned out that every single Guild I have been a GM of, has always had a majority of ladies of all ages, as active members).

    My two alternative endings would be:

    1) So, what happens when you take the Red tablet AND the Blue tablet?

    2) So, what happens to all this, when the Credit Crunch bites deeper, $600 Trillion of Derivatives evaporate into thin air, and nobody is going to be able to pay for all this with Credit Cards any more?

    The bigger Game, is about to start. 😉

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