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Old 10-06-2010, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default Casualizing Point and Click Adventures

i just read this yesterday, i thought this is pretty interesting read:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/featur...art.php?page=2

kinda sad how the game practically play by itself to please the casual crowd

i mean something like this (on the 2nd page) :

* hint at the crowbar/door task with dialog
* pop up a dialog box explaining what to do
* flash the crowbar
* when the user clicks the crowbar, it pops up large on screen with particle and sound effects and flies into inventory slot
* crowbar flashes in inventory
* door flashes when crowbar is picked up
* big reward for using crowbar on door
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:43 AM   #2
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The description you quote is of the tutorial of the game, not how the overall game mechanics work.

I don't really want to get into another debate over whether casual games adopting adventure elements is good or bad for the "true" adventures, but for another example of how adventure games perhaps aren't quite as intuitive as their fans think, check out this wonderful article where LucasArts/Telltale designer Steve Grossman has his mother-in-law try a recent Sam & Max game.
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Old 10-06-2010, 03:02 AM   #3
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I think Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton games consitute as casual games. A lot of moms play them.
Yet they can be hella hard.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:38 PM   #4
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Your definition of casual games is that "moms play them"? I hope all the moms out there are suitably insulted.

I'm a grandfather, where does that put me?
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ince View Post
I'm a grandfather, where does that put me?
I believe the standard position is to not have anything to do with these new-fangled computer thingamajigs. A stick and some mud was good enough for amusement in your day, and it should be good enough for kids now.

I think the "moms" thing has become a common shorthand for casual games fans. The idea is someone that doesn't have time (in the moms case, due to having to run a family) to get into more complex games. It's not necessarily an intelligence thing (as Origami said, some casual games are "hella hard") but more to do with the games not needing large blocks of time devoted to them.

As is often the case with this sort of shorthand, it's not entirely accurate, but such things rarely are.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageGothic View Post
The description you quote is of the tutorial of the game, not how the overall game mechanics work.

I don't really want to get into another debate over whether casual games adopting adventure elements is good or bad for the "true" adventures, but for another example of how adventure games perhaps aren't quite as intuitive as their fans think, check out this wonderful article where LucasArts/Telltale designer Steve Dave Grossman has his mother-in-law try a recent Sam & Max game.
That's a great article and really illuminates the issue at hand. We don't adventure games to go away yet there's a lot of kicking and screaming when design decisions are made to appeal to a broader audience. You can't have it both ways...
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:13 AM   #7
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Both are interestig articles. The one posted by GarageGothic reminds me a bit of when I tried to introduce a friend of mine, who is totally not in games whatsoever, to Day of the Tentacle. Although I had explained that she could pick things up, and that it was a good strategy to try to pick up everything that wasn't nailed down, or at least everything that looked like something not too heavy to carry around, she just never used the pick up option, or any other option other than a sporadic 'look at', even when I suggested it. She just didn't see why she would carry an object around which was of no apparent use for her yet. Apparently some people not familiar with the adventure genre have a different approach, way of thinking, belief of how the game should be played, and it shows the need for tutorials or manuals, to explain what we long-time adventure gamers just take for granted and consider completely logical.

It is actually pretty interesting to see this difference in way of thinking. However, it also shows that casual and adventure are two different genres that are pretty hard to mix, as (from the article potan posted) the typical casual gamer does not like the what the typical adventure gamer (or at least I) likes: the exploration, having to consider what to do next, and not too rush towards the end.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Steve Ince View Post
Your definition of casual games is that "moms play them"? I hope all the moms out there are suitably insulted.

I'm a grandfather, where does that put me?
I really don't see what the problem is with that connection.
Fact is, whether you like it or not, rarely are moms hardcore gamers.
Not to want to treat all moms alike, but that's the truth.

Now where does that put you? I guess in an awesome position.
You have the privilege to enjoy a great medium opposed to a lot of people that don't.

I am not insulting anyone here. I don't decide how a demographic group decides to spent their time and what hobbies they pick. I just call them as I see them. There is nothing ensulting about the truth.

Edit: And if my post was interpreted as an attack on the intelligence level of certain groups, it wasn't. It works like this: If you're a casual gamer, your tolerance level is much lower. As a casual gamer you prioritize other things, thus when a game poses a certain level of difficulty you might easily decide to do other 'more useful' things. Now hardcore gamers are more passionate about games. Their love for gaming motivates them to overcome difficult obstacles.

Last edited by Origami; 10-07-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:56 PM   #9
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Fact is, whether you like it or not, rarely are moms hardcore gamers.
I'm tired of the assumption that women like casual games, and casual games aren't "real" games, therefore (most) women aren't real gamers.

According to the ESA, women make up 40% of the overall gaming audience, and are the fastest growing demographic among gamers. Yes, it's unlikely that busy mothers are going to devote as many hours a week to video games as the stereotypical "hardcore" gamer does, but that's because they have other things to do -- not because being a woman or a mom somehow makes them less interested in games. Also don't confuse the type of game someone likes with their passion for gaming. I know plenty of women who will spend hours at a time playing Sudoku, Bejeweled, Tetris, etc. Why are they less hardcore than the 20 year old guy who plays Halo for hours on end?

Any game designer who thinks they should exclude this demographic because women/mothers are somehow incapable of understanding or enjoying "hardcore" games -- even those who innocently assume that women will never enjoy these games, so why bother trying to make games they might like? -- is missing a huge opportunity to expand their audience.

I also think the assumption that casual gamers don't like more complex experiences is a dangerous one. Plenty of people like to play more simple games sometimes, and more complex games at other times. (Just like plenty of adventure gamers enjoy games in other genres, too.) Is it a fact that the majority of casual gamers *won't* enjoy a more adventure game-y experience, if it's introduced in the right way? How can designers possibly know that unless they try it?
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fov View Post
Is it a fact that the majority of casual gamers *won't* enjoy a more adventure game-y experience, if it's introduced in the right way?
Yes. Unless you're talking about casuals like Drawn, which are not really adventures. The stream of gamers who abandon adventures in favor of casuals is much bigger than the tiny trickle of casuals who might get interested in the adventure genre. To the best of my knowledge, the once popular but far too optimistic view that casual games would act as stepping stones has been abandoned. They are different segments, like Luna said.
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:27 PM   #11
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This is how I see it. Casual games are like snacks. If you want to dabble in an interesting game without all too much work or effort, then casual games will fill that void. When you want a meal, you'll play a real adventure game, or any other genre.

I'm hating the assumption that only casual gamers play casual games and hardcore games despise casual games. Absolutely not true.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:03 PM   #12
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wow, thanks for sharing the 2nd article, i missed that one too,
it's a great one
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monolith View Post
This is how I see it. Casual games are like snacks. If you want to dabble in an interesting game without all too much work or effort, then casual games will fill that void. When you want a meal, you'll play a real adventure game, or any other genre.

I'm hating the assumption that only casual gamers play casual games and hardcore games despise casual games. Absolutely not true.
Very well put.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:03 PM   #14
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No, not very well put. Hardcore gamers also play casuals, but casual gamers do not play the games that hardcore gamers play.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
To the best of my knowledge, the once popular but far too optimistic view that casual games would act as stepping stones has been abandoned.
Clearly there are a lot of developers of casual games who see value in evolving the gameplay to include adventure elements, or we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I'm not suggesting that casual games should be used as stepping stones (or gateway drugs ), but I do think that many of the elements we like about adventure games (story, puzzles) can also work well in a "casual" format, and can be enjoyed by so-called casual gamers. I don't understand why many adventure gamers seem to be offended by this.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by fov View Post
I wasn't suggesting that casual games should be used as stepping stones / gateway drugs to "full fledged" adventures. But there are a lot of developers of casual games who are experimenting with injecting more story and adventure-like gameplay into an otherwise casual format. The idea that some elements that we consider to be adventure game conventions (such as story and puzzle solving) can work in a casual game certainly hasn't been abandoned; if anything, I think we're seeing more of it now than ever. What I don't get is why many adventure gamers seem to be offended by this.
So I was right, you WERE talking about Drawn c.s. and not about adventures at all.

I agree that we're seeing more of this. One reason why adventure gamers may be offended by this (but I'm just speaking for me, n=1), is that the gap between casuals and adventures is downplayed by advocates of the shallow casual games, such as yourself. If elements like story, puzzlesolving, inventory management are used AGAINST adventures ("hey, look! us casuals offer the same great stuff!") then the evasive but essential quality of adventures is the most important discerning feature left.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Fien View Post
No, not very well put. Hardcore gamers also play casuals, but casual gamers do not play the games that hardcore gamers play.
So one is either in one group or the other, are they? I see.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:26 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by aimless View Post
So one is either in one group or the other, are they? I see.
Heh. Actually, four groups: A's who also play casuals; A's who don't ; C's who play only casuals; C's who play the occasional adventure. How big would YOU say the last group is?

But of course there are as many imaginary groups as the number of criteria the wonderful human mind can come up with.

Last edited by Fien; 10-08-2010 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
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No, not very well put. Hardcore gamers also play casuals, but casual gamers do not play the games that hardcore gamers play.
Never said casual gamers play Hardcore games. Just fighting the assumption that is at hand.

If you are a casual gamer, then would casual games be a snack? No. Casual games are meals in their eyes. That is why he said my post was well put. You just didn't understand the concept.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:44 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by fov View Post
I'm tired of the assumption that women like casual games, and casual games aren't "real" games, therefore (most) women aren't real gamers.
You can look at it any way you like, but most women are not gamers. I witness that first hand everyday.

Quote:
According to the ESA, women make up 40% of the overall gaming audience, and are the fastest growing demographic among gamers.
Which basically tells us nothing in this discussion, because that research also includes casual games. So who knows.....it could be interpreted as 40% of the gaming community are women who play casual games(statistically improbable ofcourse but you get my point).

Quote:
Yes, it's unlikely that busy mothers are going to devote as many hours a week to video games as the stereotypical "hardcore" gamer does, but that's because they have other things to do -- not because being a woman or a mom somehow makes them less interested in games.
I agree and I already pointed that out. However when you wrote that last sentence I was reminded of something. Men and women are wired differently. Overall women think long-term and men short-term. A lot of women prioritize a steady future so I can see why they would more easily refrain from becoming a hardcore gamer.

Quote:
Also don't confuse the type of game someone likes with their passion for gaming. I know plenty of women who will spend hours at a time playing Sudoku, Bejeweled, Tetris, etc. Why are they less hardcore than the 20 year old guy who plays Halo for hours on end?
I know them too. And that can't be a coincidence. The games you just listed are pick-up-and-go games. Another example of why (I believe) most women are unlikely to invest long periods into gaming. Again....I am not saying there aren't women who are willing to do it.
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