Hey intertrons, I'm only making this blog post because the comment I was writing to post onto 'The Casual Conflict' written by Lewzr
got waaaaay out of hand, and since it's happened in the past, I figured I'd try to start a blog here in case I ever feel the need to write so much about a topic that's brought up here in our lovely site of discussion on all things Gaming.
So here's what was going to be my comment on that thread I linked above:
As always, there are two sides to all the arguments presented here.
We can say having more and more 'casual' gamers is a good thing, to have the general population realize games aren't all super violent and won't make you into a killer. But then you can also say that the 'casual' games are too easy/reptitive/childish, making these new gamers believe that all games are that simplistic.
But then you can also declare, that from that situation, a new casual gamer, perhaps someone in their 20s who just never was into games before now (I mean, you didn't think all the new gamers are actually babies, grannies and your mother, right?), picks up a Wii or a PS2 on the cheap and plays something nice and simple and easy.. then finishes with it quickly, the 'overly-simple' game leaving them wanting more and drawing them into slowly more mature titles.
I'm also surprised no over-sexed male here has made the point that the casual demographic that companies like Nintendo are aiming for is the female one. Having more women playing games can't be a bad thing, right guys?
(I'm finding it hard to resist writing what I think some jock might say to this. Something about a girl playing with a Wii. Never mind.)
Anyway, my intial thought was simply that we shouldn't care so much about 'resources' being put into casual games, since they take less work to make, I believe. So let the game developpers make casual fare! If it brings in a multitude of new wallets that'll feed the monsters that are the big franchises we're so desperate to see made, all the better!
Lastly, I think the negative reaction about this new trend supposedly 'legitimizing games' through new casual stuff has to do with how the average gamer wanted to be 'accepted' and the desire to remain a bit of an 'underground', half-secreted culture.
The everyday hardcore gamer wanted the rest of the world to finally realize that games just ARE cool, without the industry having to pander to the 'outsiders' to get them to see the light. The fact that we had to go as far as creating something like the Wii to do it is frustrating to some people, I think. The fact that some people, -like anyone older than 40- just can't get a grip on traditional controllers (yes, that was a pun) escapes a fair number of us, I believe. We just wanted everyone we know to wake up one day and say, "Oh! Blowing stuff up IS cool, okay. And games ARE pretty artistic, I get it." It's just not that easy, though.
The other thing I mentionned was that there's a subconscious desire to have gaming remain a niche market. We want other people to understand.. just not butt in on our industry. There's a trend these days that seems to be that if something is really really popular with a lot of people, it's not cool anymore. Things are only cool when it's your own little secret and the whole world doesn't know about it. Like a friend of mine's opinion of Halo, in a sense. He thought it was so cool back when it was the Mac computer gamers little secret.. but then Microsoft bought Bungie and turned it into this giant, hate-absorbing franchise, just because half the people out there don't want to like the mainstream because they think it makes them average, they think it makes them normal, like everyone else. So now my friend doesn't like it as much anymore, even though it's the same game it always was, and then improved through it's sequels.
Halo continues to be a bad example, but I'm sure you can think of something else appropriate to replace it with in my ancedote, and it'll make the same point about people losing interest in something once it becomes popular.
So, yeah.. a lot of gamers think their past-time is being taken away from them in a way, but we don't have to worry because the big three are never going to give up on the big hardcore titles they know we love. They're just going to make a pretty penny on the side with casual games. And hey, maybe because of that side-dish, you'll have a new hardcore buddy that broke his gaming teeth late in life (22 years old, ZOMG) on the Wii.
PS - Not me, though! I got a NES when I was 5 or something. :P