As far as videogames are concerned, casual games do not exist.
Now. I’m not here to prise open old wounds about definitions. Not really. Ok, a little bit but the casual versus hardcore talk? It’s been done over and over. Recently, I liked this talk a great deal.
Not just because it covers the ground so effectively but because the conclusion about language, about how we speak about videogames, is really strong and on the nail. We do need to use better, more inclusive, more human words in games.
I’ve talked about this for a long time now. This stuff is so ingrained that we can add two sets of quotes to a story to flesh it out and not even notice or really care that it’s added nothing constructive or of use to the conversation.
This is our normal.
That’s videogames. We do stuff. We don’t notice we do it. Because it’s our normal.
And it’s normal to assume casual games don’t exist when we talk about videogames. It’s normal to assume lots of games don’t exist when we talk about videogames but casual games bear a weirdly large amount of the load. We pay lip service to videogames as expansive when it suits us to make a point and then we carry on doing what we do, day in, day out. Pretending that huge swathes of games don’t exist or don’t count.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s just so we’ve still got something to fight about because what would we do, what would a day even look like where we’re in and around videogames without something to be shouting at? I don’t know, I’ve never seen that day. Maybe one day.
In the blue corner, you’ve got the guys who’ll sit there and talk your tiny face off that only manly shooty games of war (maybe in space) are real games (with a handful of notable exceptions that are probably Made In Japan). And in the red corner, you have the folks who’ll sit there and talk your tiny face off about how wouldn’t it be nice if more games in the mainstream weren’t about shooting people in the face because this is a terrible thing.
Obviously, in videogames is not just two polar camps fighting forever (it just seems like that every other Thursday) but it’s rare to see anyone acknowledge casual exists at all whatever argument they’re making and I swear so much of this is because having to do that would call bullshit on so many of our preconceptions about games or the business of games. We’d have to face the fact that maybe our big ideas on things aren’t quite so easily boiled down to platitudes with attitude and a lot of the things we take as universal truth maybe kinda isn’t universal truth at all.
Time to stop asking “Are Games Art?” and ask “Are Games Exist?” instead and shush, what do you mean that question doesn’t even make sense. It never stopped you with the art one, did it?