"Everyone likes to play games, and that's been true for 5,000 years," says PopCap Games spokesman Garth Chouteau. "You can go back and find hieroglyphics of Egyptians playing games. It's practically in our DNA."
Whether it's used to describe a vast, profitable swath of the video-gaming landscape or derisively in a review of the latest minigame collection, there's no question that the label "casual game" carries more than its share of baggage. For something that's so ubiquitous, it's a concept that's surprisingly hard to nail down; ask 10 developers to define what makes a casual game, and you're likely to get just as many responses. Chances are, though, no matter how hardcore you might consider yourself, if you're reading this, you're also probably a casual gamer, too.
The first installment of Game Informer's two-part covers:
• What's casual gaming?
• Where did casual games come from?
• Who's playing?