[casual_games] What is a Casual Game?

Dave Walls dave635 at msn.com
Wed Jan 4 10:47:31 EST 2006

I usually use: "if my mom can play it, it's a casual game"


-----Original Message-----
From: casual_games-bounces at igda.org [mailto:casual_games-bounces at igda.org]
On Behalf Of Steve Meretzky
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 10:32 AM
To: 'IGDA Casual Games SIG Mailing List'
Subject: RE: [casual_games] What is a Casual Game?

The definition that I've always used at the intro to the Casual Games Summit
at the GDC is "a game for which the rules can be written on one 3x5 index
card -OR- a more complex game, but one for which vast numbers of people are
already familiar with the rule set (e.g. chess, spades)". To that, Dave
Rohrl adds "a game intended for people for whom gaming is not a major part
of their lives", which is similar to Brent's definition below.

Or, better yet, like the Supreme Court defining pornography, I know it when
I see it. But the lines are getting fuzzier these days...


-----Original Message-----
From: casual_games-bounces at igda.org [mailto:casual_games-bounces at igda.org]
On Behalf Of Lennard Feddersen
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 10:23 PM
To: IGDA Casual Games SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [casual_games] What is a Casual Game?

My definition is somewhat the same although I think of the casual market as
a gentler, kinder kind of place.  This is partly because of demographics I
have seen for Real and MSN that define the the casual gamer as over 30 and
predominately female.  To me, Darwinia is more of an indie title than a
casual title - maybe our own Battle Castles even totters on the edge between
indie and casual although I'm personally aiming for the casual market.  The
ideal casual game is also < 15MB.

My rules, and Brents are broken by a game like Fate which I think is
supposed to be aimed squarely at the casual market but it's really big, I
believe it has an ending and definitely has a story.  Mystery Case Files is
squarely in the casual market but it has a story - and it's far from the
only example of a casual title with a story.

And here's another thought to get people going.  I would say that the casual
market is more commercial and there is less passion.  Lot's of indies never
make a dime or even finish their title for that matter - but they aim for
the moon, live and die for their art and, I think, are often actually
shooting for art.  That's my 2 cents.

Happy game makin'

Lennard Feddersen
CEO, Rusty Axe Games, Inc.

Lennard at RustyAxe.com
P. 250-635-7623 F. 1-309-422-2466
3521 Dogwood, Terrace, BC, Canada, V8G-4Y7


> I'd define a casual game as one that you don't have to devote your 
> life to. I know that you can play doom for short periods of time, but 
> it does have a storyline and it will take many short sessions to 
> complete the game. Completion is often not the goal of a casual game.
> They are just time wasters.
> I would define arcade games (the classic retro style from the 1980s) 
> as casual games. This is because you play them for a few minutes and 
> then walk away--perhaps never to play again. You wouldn't spend 2 days 
> playing an arcade game trying to complete it because most don't have 
> endings. They just keep going.
> Puzzle games also fall into the "casual" category for much the same 
> reason. They don't really have storylines, and the intention is not to 
> spend 2 days trying to get to the end. They are diversions, that 
> entertain you when you have a spare few minutes.
> That's my take on the definition.
> Cheers,
> Brent.
> www.def-logic.com <http://www.def-logic.com>/
> www.brentishouse.com <http://www.brentishouse.com>/
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Eric Fortier" <efortier at techlogic.ca 
> <mailto:efortier at techlogic.ca>>
> To: <casual_games at igda.org <mailto:casual_games at igda.org>>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:36 PM
> Subject: [casual_games] What is a Casual Game?
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I've been reading the Wiki pages, the Casual game white paper and 
> > other resources, and they all seem to be pretty vague on what 
> > exactly
> makes a game
> > casual versus core or hardcore.
> >
> > For example, on one site I read that a casual game is a game people
> can play
> > for short period of time. Okay, I can do that with Doom 3 or 
> > Neverwinter Night, but these are hardly casual games.
> >
> > Simplistic gameplay also comes up when talking about casual games. I
> find
> > that playing an adventure game like Fahrenheit is a lot less 
> > involved in term of gameplay mechanics than Darwinia (for me at 
> > least), but
> Fahrenheit
> > is hardly a casual game.
> >
> > As for the file size, I think we can all agree that a casual game
> shouldn't
> > require two days of download on a high speed connection.
> >
> > So, what do you guys consider a casual game and why?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > --Eric
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Casual_Games at igda.org <mailto:Casual_Games at igda.org> 
> > http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/casual_games
> >
> >
> >
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