“Fucking casuals”

If you’re a gamer, chances are that you hear the cries everywhere. Casuals can’t even play regular games. Casuals need their own stupid easier games. Casual need their own difficulty settings. Casuals are destroying video games. If you’re one of the people complaining about this without a hint of irony I want you to stand up. Lift up your monitor. And bash your head through it until it comes right through it.

I think we’ve about established my stance on casual gaming here already, but I am not done with you just yet. We’ll have to go deeper.

No. We have to go deeper.

I’m not going to bring up Tetris, Tetris has always been known as a casual game, even back in the day. There’s even a very classy song about the correlation between having breasts and a vagina and liking Tetris out there. So let’s instead look at another game that would be considered casual by today’s standards.

Pac. Motherfucking Man.

You go around eating pellets as a drug-fueled pizza-shaped yellow thing in a maze while ghosts chase you. I doubt that level of description was needed, since just about everyone knows Pacman. With today’s standards, this game is casual. Painfully so. Still, get some friends together, keep track of highscore across games, and suddenly you’ll see the potential of a hardcore level challenge.

Oh wait. Highscores as a reason to keep playing on a social level is pretty much deemed casual these days as well, isn’t it? Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebbe wouldn’t like hearing that. But you’re such a fantastic hardcore gamer, I’m pretty sure you’d blow away their pathetic little game freezing skills without breaking a sweat, right?

Right?

Oh, wait. You won’t. That’s not exactly a casual level of playing, is it?

Then what about Puzzle Quest?

Nearly every mention of that game I’ve seen either makes it out to be casual as fuck, or is made by someone who has actually played it. Someone who actually tried to beat it. Yeah, it might surprise some, but PUzzle Quest is actually hard. Very hard. The computer is an unforgiving cheating bastard. You won’t notice this if you don’t get past the first hour or so, but everything after that is a struggle not to die at almost every turn.

If that’s casual, then fuck you, Halo is casual. I actually found Halo 3, ODST, and Reach to be easier and less frustrating than Puzzle Quest. I found most games this generation to be less challenging than Puzzle Quest.

Before you bring up what difficulty I was playing Halo on in an attempt to ridicule my skill, let me tell you that I have played through Contra without the Code. I found it to be a moderately challenging game. Halo? My first playthroughs are always on Heroic. And yeah, I do stand my ground on Legendary if I set my mind to it.

Another example as to why I think the whole casual gaming stigma is bullshit?

Henry Hatsworth on the Nintendo DS.

Henry Hatsworth

Good show!

Just look at it. It’s made by EA, and the box art makes it looks like a cheap Puzzle League cash-in. It features a silly British stereo-type as its main character. And despite all of this, it’s one of the more excellent platformers on the system. Has quite a challenge too. It also has some of the most original gameplay I’ve seen in gaming in a long time. If you feel like you’re too good for this, then go on ahead ignore it in favor of Call of Duty 6: Bad Companies of War Solid, but I actually like to enjoy video games.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what they’re here for. And if you can’t sit down to enjoy the occasional game of Angry Birds, Peggle, or even Professor Layton… Well, then I feel sorry for you.

But that’s not the end of this. I think you all know the phrase “Don’t hate the game, hate the player.” Well, there’s a whole other side to this casual gaming thing that I haven’t touched on yet.

Casual gamers.

People who occasionally pick up a video game, play it for a bit and then put it down again.

Disgusting idea isn’t it? Why can’t we all just put them together on an island and get rid of them?

Because that would be stupid, that’s why.

Casual gamers, people who enjoy the occasional game, are still gamers. Sure, they might restrict themselves to games they can play in short bursts but can keep playing aimlessly, like the kind of games Popcap is known for. But is that really a bad thing? And does that really mean they’re not gamers at all?

Let’s look at a gaming habit I’ve picked up over the years. Hard as nail shooters, like Metal Slug, or even highscore based insanity like Geometry Wars 2. People look at these games, see me play them, and they gasp in awe because of the display in pure skill that is being crammed into their pathetic little lives. I get wedding proposals, gifts, and compliments about how insanely good I am.

Geometry Wars. Casual game.

Okay, I’m moderately okay at them at best, and people just go “cool”, but still. I’m actually only playing them in half hour bursts. They’re games I like to pick up for a short while and be able to put down without a problem again. Does this make me a casual gamer?

Then what about the people spending hours upon hours on social farming games. Are they hardcore gamers because of how much time they spend on their games? What about people doing the same thing to Harvest Moon and Rune Factory? Are they any more or less a gamer than someone playing Farmville?

I guess we’ll always have the elitist fuckwads around, sure. But seriously, if you’re going to start bitching about casual gaming, just keep in mind that you’re a larger part of what’s wrong with gaming culture than the people you’re complaining about.

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One thought on ““Fucking casuals”

  1. Pingback: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly of Casual Gaming « Remy van Ruiten

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