I was born in the last millennium in the far off year of 1989... back before the invention of such things as the world wide web (seriously).
My home is on the side of a highway next to an animal laboratory. A pregnant lady once drove into my front yard in such a way as to send my father's car flying into a wall.
She was in a high-speed chase with the cops. I once got arrested for standing in a park, with the final charges coming to disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest. Don't worry though I didn't do anything wrong... that cop was just being a real jerk.
I like video games. I really like the number 24. People in high school used to think I was always on drugs... yet I have never gotten high in my life (only on life!). I'm probably not as ugly or screwed up as you think I am. My friend thinks I am very bad luck. My grandma is adorable. My sister loves cats and wants to join the FBI and save the world (she hates bugs though). I've been to the murder capital of the world several times but don't feel much like going back cause it's kind of boring.
As a kid I used to play on my dad's Game Boy. It was not mine, it was his and he let me borrow it. He would also laugh whenever I died in Super Mario World. Blue Yoshi was my favorite cause he was always the easiest to fly. If you are still reading this I applaud you (in spirit). I apologize for my overuse of parenthesis. I have come to the opinion that many people on Xbox Live cannot read very well since the majority of them always call me GoogleKnocker.
After Jim's recent video I once again found myself thinking about the differences between casual and hardcore gamers. And as I read the comments below it seemed that the people speaking about the two groups didn't have a clear understanding of the differences either, which is understandable given how vague the whole idea is. In my head I have two prevailing definitions that people seem to base their ideas on:
1. Farmville vs. Call of Duty This view is based around what games you play. Basically people who play casual games like Farmville are casual gamers and players who play games like Call of Duty or Halo are hardcore gamers.
2. The Obsessed vs. the Non-obsessed This is the view that the classification of whether someone is hardcore or casual depends on how obsessed that person is with the world of gaming. With this definition the regular Call of Duty player is now a casual. They have no thoughts whatsoever on Activision and see nothing wrong in buying a $15 map pack. The hardcore gamer is the type of gamer who has deeply held convictions on the subject of gaming. Considering that you're reading a blog about different classifications for gamers, you're probably a hardcore gamer. This is very similar to how some people can become obsessed with politics and others just vote on the candidate they think looks better.
I don't understand either!
I personally tend to have the second viewpoint. However there is no right or wrong answer. Years from now some official dictionary group of official-arity could dub a specific definition for casual gamers as being the official definitive definition cause they said so. For right now though the definition is extremely vaque.
In his video, Jim never gave a definition of his viewpoint, but of the two above, his view seems closer to the first. However, in using this viewpoint we get lost in trying to define not what a casual gamer is... but what a casual game is. In Jim's argument he seemed to classify Farmville as a casual game because you don't pay for it, while a game like Modern Warfare 2 would be hardcore because it costs $60. This doesn't seem right to me, and I doubt Jim would define casual games like that himself if asked specifically. What about Wii Sports? That cost about 100 bucks on amazon and I don't know anyone who would classify that as a hardcore game. Dwarf Fortress is free, but I can't possibly think of THAT as being casual.
Don't worry Jim, unless you specifically tell me I won't assume you think this is casual just cause it's free.
Still, some other people have the viewpoint that there ARE no casual or hardcore gamers. I'm almost inclined to agree, except that since there is no strict definition for what a casual or hardcore gamer is, we can't even go so far as to say that they don't exist!
I personally think that a good way for us to at least make things a bit less confusing is to differentiate between casual games and casual gamers. As for myself I'd rather not make huge generalizations on either group unless, well, I know EXACTLY what it is I'm generalizing. At this point I'd rather we just forget those two terms and be more specific in what we are trying to say. Games that involve motion controls are.... People who like those games are....
Even if someone is just to giving an opinion, at least it'll be more clear. As it stands now, a video such as Jim's can result in plenty of different interpretations. So is Jim saying that it's stupid to pay for games? Is he saying that pirating games is smarter? I mean, granted he didn't say anything about it being the more moral decision, but if intelligence is based on not spending a lot of money on games... well, is it really so wrong for someone to come to that kind of interpretation from such a vague argument?
What do you think? Do you have any other views on what a casual or hardcore gamer is that doesn't fit with either of mine? Would you rather we just forget about both terms and be more specific about what we mean?
As a kid I would play the hell out of any game given to me. It didn't matter if the gameplay was flawed. It didn't matter if the story was non-existent. It didn't even matter if the fundamental aspects of gameplay were beyond my comprehension as a child. I would play it regardless.
Now that I'm older, now that I'm a more well-informed, more "hardcore" gamer, I feel I have a deeper love for the world of gaming. But even though my love for video games may have grown, my tolerance for them has dwindled. I'm sure many of you feel the same. Of course I don't expect you to dig out your old games to try yourself, but I think we both know that many of them have not aged well. Not only have they not aged well but our own levels of acceptability have risen.
That is not to say that all old games are unplayable now. Super Mario World is the first video game I ever remember owning. In fact it was the only game I owned for years. And year after year I would continue playing it, in love with the characters I played as and content in my simple amusement. Now keep in mind this was before I could even read. A nice little window would pop up politely asking me if I would like to save the game and that is something I only know about in hindsight. Back then they seemed like nothing more than gibberish to my young eyes, and like that the save state of my game hung upon a coin-flip over which set of gibberish I would choose. In the same way the story was limited to what I could see.
Getting the cape and Yoshi at the same time was always my primary goal. Why? Cause that's how the cover was and the cover was cool.
Perhaps there is something to be said about the simplistic plot in Mario games. Even as an illiterate little sponge I could completely grasp the idea that King Koopa was bad and I had to save some Princess. It made sense. I rode on this dinosaur and grew when I touched this mushroom and it all made perfect sense. It was the Super Mario World I had been introduced to and I accepted the world's logic.
Even today, Super Mario World is an amazing title. Yet, today, I don't feel like I would feel very motivated to play a game with an incomprehensible save system. I just don't have the motivation to play the same things over and over again. I've tried to get all of Luigi's stars in Super Mario Galaxy oh how I've tried, but I just can't seem to care. I have other things to do.
I feel as if we live in an age of apathy now. We all want constant reinforcement. If you are reading an article you want some pictures to make the work seem smaller. You want the little prize. World of Warcraft is the obvious example of this, but all games have it to some degree. You reach a new level, your character becomes more powerful or you progress more through the story. You get a little bubble popping up saying you've achieved killing something an arbitrary number of times. Nobody wants to play some crappy cash-in game based around "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters", a game with no save system which will erase all your progress upon dieing a certain amount of times. Of course... I used to. Many people did as a kid.
I had absolutely no idea what was going on in this game.
It's this apathy we grow into. We didn't used to know so much about games. We didn't used to know what was possible and what could be achieved in this medium. Our limited understanding gave us a sort of... sweet bias. We could enjoy games for simplistic reasons. As a child maybe you preferred Sonic games over Mario. Not due to any sort of impartial rating on the quality of the games mind you, but because, well, Sonic was cool. Who needs quality gameplay when you have a totally kickass killer whale jumping up behind you for absolutely no reason. It was awesome! But we know not to fall for those types of tricks anymore.
Now we're spoiled. There are plenty of games coming out and many of us now have a greater capacity to actually acquire these new games. We acquire a new game and consume it. Super Mario World may have lasted me years but now it feels as though whenever I get a new game, I quickly finish and forget about it. It seems as though there is no longevity in a game unless it has a multiplayer component to it. I mean, it's an understandable mindset, to want to play different games and not be stuck within one game and any flaw it may present, no matter how small. Still... it's kind of tragic in a way.
I think this may tie into one of the problems I had with Red Dead Redemption. Without bias, or anything of that sort, I can say it is a high-quality game. But to me it was kind of "eh". Yeah, the physics were nice, beautiful environments, the plot dealt with the themes presented fairly nicely, yet throughout the game I had this feeling like "yeah this is a good game, I kind of don't care though". I'm sure some people loved it. They loved the idea of being a cowboy. I on the other hand was getting tired of herding cattle. Yeah, it's realistic... but it's also just work. I think this is the same problem many people have with the Uncharted series. Again, another high-quality game but still something that some of us simply couldn't care about due to a combination of our own bias and apathy. I've played the first Uncharted and have no inclination to play the second. Ok, there's a nice little set piece with a train, I... somehow just don't care.
Wait, Deadly Premonition has a quasi-realistically growing beard that you actually need to shave? That's awesome!
Deadly Premonition however, that I liked. I find the silly dialogue and crazy plot much more interesting than any of the set-pieces to be found in Uncharted. I can't say it's the better game though. I mean, without my bias, looking at it objectively, well, Uncharted is the higher quality game. The graphics and gameplay are far beyond that found in Deadly Premonition. Objectively, Uncharted is the better game. But screw that I want to stick with my bias. In my mind Deadly Premonition is the better game. Some people may think the plot is stupid. I thought it was brilliant. Now this may not make sense to some of you, but that's only because it doesn't.
Some of you will understand what I mean in my comparison between these two games which seemingly shouldn't even be compared. We each have our own biases, our own apathy. People are not logical. As children we liked certain games for silly reasons due to our own biases. Many people become apathetic as they get older and may lose certain biases, but gain new ones. I am now apathetic to many games I used to play. I am also apathetic to many sports games. As a matter of fact I am apathetic to the new release of Starcraft II. It may be the best RTS game ever created for all I know. But I don't know cause I don't care. It is a bias of mine. Instead I'd rather be talking to some old lady about my coffee in Deadly Premonition. No it does not make sense. But in my world, it makes perfect sense.