It is me again. My topic today are the different groups of people who play video games, and why I hate some of them.
Starting with my old Smash Pros/Cons post, I have shown my general dislike to what refers to itself as the core gamer. It has been the fundamental driving force of video games in the previous generations and is still responsible for a fair share of sales on all systems. Especially in the light of last E3, the gameplay of Wii Series games and Nintendo focussing more and more on games for the “expanded audience”, the “core gamer” has thrown out claims whose odor alone makes me aggravated, agitated and infuriated. Every month passing without a first-party AAA title containing either a long and epic storyline or a highly competitive online multiplayer mode is seen as an abandonment of this group. They feel withdrawal if there is not at least one, if not more, Zelda titles available a year.
But most of all, they demand every high-profile title to suit their competitive needs. For them, video games are not an entertaining pastime, but a competitive sport. In fact, the word “gamer” itself appears to be an artificial label to make video game playing appear more serious than the word “playing” implies. Ever heard of professional football players?
Their desire for games to become more competitive can be seen among Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii players alike. In both games, engine abuses requiring skill to use have been fixed and the game has been changed in a way that makes them more accessible to beginners. The core gamers feels betrayed, comparing the exploits he used to techniques in sports. They feel that after years of Nintendo making games for them and them supporting Nintendo, Nintendo has abandoned them. Yeah, as if the competitive aspect had ever been Nintendo’s main focus. Nintendo games always focussed on enjoyment, with the competitive aspect secondary and those “skills and techniques”, which are really abuses and exploits, never having been intended.
Next ahead is what many of the traditional gamers call the “casual gamer”, a group into which I feel I belong. However, I do not think the word gamer fits. The casual enjoy a game by simply playing it, having found a nice pastime, not “pwning n00bs”. Player is perfectly appropriate.
What makes casual players casual is that we play when we feel like it, not dedicating large amounts of time to video games. It is not that we play dumbed-down games , dislike action, are ignorant about videogame art (Miyamoto himself could have his playing style categorized in the casual category, after all), or, dear industry, eat every piece of crap served to us. We prefer games that one can enjoy in short timespans, maybe half an hour or a whole at a time. Personally, I find it hard to enjoy games where you sit around and repeat the same pattern for 3 hour before you make any progress (stupid RPG experience system…).
Another common misconception about casual players is that we do not enjoy “serious” games and just play games of the Wii Series and the likes. Dear core gamer, you seem to be mistaking us for the non-gamer, about whom I will talk later. I do like playing games like Zelda (at least until the ungeons get too frustrating, like the Temple of the Ocean King with the Phantoms), GTA, Counter-Strike or Metroid Prime once in a while. While casual gamers do have the ability to enjoy games like the Wii Series without falling back on a highscore-searching struggle, we do not exclusively play them.
To be continued… one day… maybe…