Casual Games Kill Hardcore Gamers

This post was originally a comment that I wrote over on Mischiefblog, but it’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while so I’m cross-posting it here. One thing I’ve never seen discussed anywhere is how casual games kill hardcore players. If you have ever considered yourself a hardcore gamer, you’ll know what I mean in a moment.

Before I played an MMORPG with many casual elements, I didn’t care about them one bit. I was happy to type a line of text to examine an item, I was happy to type [a question] to NPCs to advance a quest, I was happy to sketch crappy maps on a notebook to get around, and I was happy to keep a spreadsheet to tell me what I had to do for the many quests I was on.

Now you may look at that and say, “no, you are stupid GG, those are not elements of a casual game. Those are, in fact, inconveniences that have been eliminated from MMOGs, and for good reason.” Well, you might not state it exactly that way, but it’s a valid argument. I just disagree with it.

Casual games take the tedium out of everything you do. They make finding quest givers convenient, travel simple, they even the odds between skilled min/maxers and less experienced players. All the elements of convenience and simplicity combined make a casual game.

Most importantly, up until I played a game with these elements I didn’t give a crap about them. As I said before, I was happy with the tedium. I was happy with having to grind for a year to max a character out. I was happy that I lost all of my equipment when another player killed and looted me. But now that I’ve seen the other side–the dark side that is casual games–I can’t go back.

I stand a hardcore gamer converted to a relative carebear. Sure, I still love PvP and some hardcore game elements, but I will never be half as hardcore as I once was. I am a former hardcore gamer who is not part of “the target market” for hardcore anymore. And it’s not because I didn’t love such games at one point, it’s because I let myself sample the casual side, and the convenience and simplicity corrupted me forever.

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