Platformers are NOT casual. I have theories of proof and this is what I think IS.
Okay, I'm posting this blog because I just got worked up on the misconception that platformers are 'casual games'. Now, I have talked about the stupid non-existant gap of casual and hardcore before and I have angered and perhaps accidentally insulted some people and their gaming habits.
This will be another delivering, controversial blog from Cajun Chicken.
First of all, I LOVE the platformer, the platformer is indeed going the way of the Beat 'em Up this generation, its obviously fading away into non-existance. The platformer is a great way to escape into another place, full of colour and fantastical colours, the closest we will ever get into a interractive cartoon and its dying in front of our very eyes.
Right, lets get down to it. I aim to sort out the arguement and the misconception of platformers being casual once and for all. This is my understanding;
Whenever I read upon 'Casual Games', I read upon games that anyone can play, that the first 5 minutes of the game you experience are the ONLY game mechanics ever introduced with very simple input with controls at that.
Due to the shovelware which is released on the Wii and DS, casual has been thrown around at anything that doesn't fit in with the 'hardcore qualifying rules' (Sorry, Wii and DS fans, there are good titles, but you must admit, sometimes most developers just can't be bothered and its now spreading to HD consoles for quick cash ins.)
Here is my list of games that I think fit in with the division of casual games:
Singstar series, Lips, Eyetoy series, You're in the Movies, Buzz series, Puzzle games such as Tetris, Lumines, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, FloW.
Why those games? And why don't I think platformers deserve to be in the division of casual games you ask?
I'll explain why in four easy points;
1.Do you just press a few buttons judging by colours on screen, shake a stick, sing, match something up or press something at the right time in order to play and complete a full platform game? No.
2. Does a platform game have a narrative, development of game mechnanics and level progression? Yes.
3. Do the games I see as casual games I mentioned actually stray any further than the original game mechanics introdued from the first 5 minutes of play? No.
4. Does a platform game actually 'end'? Yes.
Did you notice that basically, platform games basically broke all the common rules that 'casual games' are set under?
Good lord! Does that mean they are hardcore? I mean, cutsey, cartoony games can't possibly be hardcore, right?
Well, not exactly, but I think they are 'Core' as anyone can play them, but have to put a bit of thought into them its not as simple as just diving in, also many platform games introduce different game mechanics on different levels altering how you think and play the game, 'casual games' don't. You still sing, match or press buttons echoing whats on a screen in casual games and that doesn't end even when you get to the last level, casual games play and are exactly the same until the end.
Do I just play platformers?
NO! I play all types of games except really JRPGs and RTS, many of those that don't fit in with the 'casual' demographic with are more 'hardcore' apparently, like fast paced FPS, Adventure games and TPS that want you dead all the time, but I don't play any of the (what I think) casual games I listed above, well except for a good puzzle game that gets the brain and hand eye co-ordination working.
But I really like the occasional platform game, classics like Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet, Ape Escape, Jak series and even Spyro.
Its funny that once the platform game was basically the only 'hardcore' game out there and now its been shoved along games where effectively, you have very little input in the game you are playing.
From what I understand 'hardcore' games seem to involve adult content, shooting, dark themes, adult characters, addictive, online community, not as simple as a case of good VS evil and anything that is 'difficult' to complete or survive in.
Maybe my writing and points will stop people claiming Platform games are 'casual'. A generation ago maybe they could be classed under that, but now...no.
Not the way how the industry has thrown the word around in the last few years, its nothing but an insult to a well developed, good level design in mind, solid game in a certain genre, just because it isn't as dark or addictive as a hardcore game.
So if you want platformers to be put under something and stupidly pigeonholed like all other game genres are, lets just say 'core'. But platformers are certainly not 'casual' not compared to those other games.
So argue. discuss what you think of my opinons. Yes, you read that right, I just said Guitar Hero is casual, not hardcore. Go ahead and defend why pressing coloured buttons at the right timing on screen to a rock soundtrack is so hardcore and platforms apparently games aren't. Hopefully some platform game fans will unite on the comments of this here blog and put in their input.
If not. I'm going to have some angry Guitar Hero fans.