Cajun Chicken (User)

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Platformers are NOT casual. I have theories of proof and this is what I think IS.

Cajun Chicken | 2009d ago
User blog

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.

Harry190  +   2009d ago
Platformers have never been casual
LittleBigPlanet actually reminds us of that. Beating the story mode is hard, very hard.
callahan09  +   2009d ago
I agree with some of the things you said, but not everything.

For one, it should be judged on a case by case basis. And who's to say that a casual game cannot also be hardcore?

I mean, the perfect example is the original Super Mario Bros. for NES. That game was extremely casual. It had an ending, yes. It had a narrative, technically. But really, it only involved moving left to right, holding one button to run, and pressing another button to jump. It is ridiculously simple when you think about it. The run button lets you shoot fireballs if you get a power up. That's the full extent of its complexity.

The game was very casual-appealing then, and it's still very casual. I mean, it launched a revolution in gaming and made Nintendo the most popular and well-known videogame maker on the planet. That's casual.

Now, it's also hardcore. Very hardcore. To beat the game requires very high levels of skill, precision, reflexes, timing, coordination, and memorization. I would staunchly defend it as a casual game AND as a hardcore game. So, really, what's the point in making distinctions?

All genres have merits. Different games appeal to different people, for whatever reasons.
Cajun Chicken  +   2009d ago
True, that was the point.
This is the way I weigh up the difference between hardcore and casual games in my head.
I have cited on N4G before I don't believe that either exist, I just play games and all types of games except ones I don't like.
But when the industry and I've noticed members of N4G file platformers under 'casual' compared to the other awful 'games' which are developed under the 'casual' umbrella (Thanks Nintendo PR) its an insult to the platformer in this generation and age of the industry, thats all was saying.

Its nothing to do with the difficulty of skill or addictiveness or a games genre or how much time you put into a game.

I just play games. I don't really pigeonhole them, but sometimes to react against what people classify certain types of games as, I am forced to in retaliation to put some perspective into the matter.

Hardcore, Casual. Nah, I'm just a gamer, I may not play games 24/7, but I enjoy the experience of playing somebody elses creation in a game and follow my favorite developers.

So what I'm saying if people want the platformer to be under some umbrella sales demographic, don't file it under casual and we all know it isn't really hardcore but can be taxing in places, so its just 'core'...and core is a game.
#2.1 (Edited 2009d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Jinxstar  +   2009d ago
I would like to know where you stand on titles like LBP, "Lego" series, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros and many other games that blur the line between casual and platformer(Bar smash bros, Thats just an example of blurring HC and Casual).

I think the reason they all get lumped together is the newer gen. Me and you are from old school NES and Atari days man, When Donkey Kong Country or Super Mario 3 were so astounding nobody knew games could get better looking. When Earthworm Jim was as cartoony as you could imagine... Games evolve as do the players and the generations. One day we'll be watching kids in glass balls blowing zombies heads off with VR goggles on actually feeling blood splash and body parts hit them as they blow up... Thinking back to duck hunt will be weird and we will be outcasts...

I love platformers. The ones I mentioned and others like Ratchet and Clank TOD and Uncharted(Not sure if this is TPS or Action adventure/Platformer.... Good mix anyway) What in your mind qualifies a platformer? God of War? Ninja Gaiden? Devil May Cry? Normally I see little difference between GOW and Ratchet... Enemies spawn, you kill them with something you aquired throughout the course of the game, Puzzles, Story, Character Development and an ending... Some replay value. What changes it from Beat em up/ Platformer/ Action adventure/ Something else?

Then again is mass Effect a Platformer? It's not a JRPG and it seems as though it could be classified as a platformer unless there is a real definition of what is what... What makes it that much different from something like Fable 2? What is fable 2 for that matter?.. I feel if you play through the game and beat it you have a platformer but if you go through and re do a bunch of quests it could qualify as a RPG... Fine line once again...

Basically I feel most of the younger gamers these days can't see a game being fun without something they feel is essential i.e. Realism, Gore, Adult theme's... To me it's all about fun and a game like Lego indiana jones is a ton of fun. Me and my girl could play it and just keep going with it. Too many people are hung up on Graphics or Tech to worry about what makes a game good. As Paul Barnett said to his team when they were making Warhammer AOR "FUN YOU F#@$ERS!!!!"

Too many people get lost in the things that aren't fun to add challenge. Prince of Persia the new one was fun. Easy, Short, Repetitive but still fun and beautiful. Worth a look for sure, Maybe not a buy but still. A solid platformer that could have been more fleshed out but still enjoyable...

Also I once read an article about a guy who was so hardcore into MMO's that one day he sat down and started up ICO. He played the game from start to finish in one sitting and as he saw the credits roll he thought to himself "I could have spent the last 6 1/2 hours working on an enchant for my helmet that would have given me barely any kind of advantage in the scheme of things...." There is something to be said about fun and too many have lost it or are lead by others to a more HC route.... Hence why I think Platformers in general aren't doing as well as a game like COD4...
#3 (Edited 2009d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Cajun Chicken  +   2009d ago
Well, actually, I'm an Amiga guy, only 22 years of age, but, yeah I caught up throughout the ages. There was no way my parents would get me a SNES or Megadrive in the past so I had the Amiga, which also had some great platformers and vast selection of genres of games (Lemmings, Cannon Fodder, anyone?) finally got given my own PSone when I was in highschool, then a PS2 about 4 years through the cycle and XBOX about 2 years through, I bought both HD consoles in 2007 due to the factI never witnessed a gaming generation from the start before and only caught them halfway through.

I just hate this sales split this gen. I agree with the organising of genres of games, just not the pigeonholing of them for sales and audiences.

But yeah, I really love the platformer, hopefully we'll see them start appearing again this year.

I'd say that Uncharted wasn't a platformer, but an action/adventure game but however, it did have some platform elements.

And strangely enough, due to the double jump and collecting in GoW, I've always seen it in my eyes as a platformer for adults, especially in some sections.

Basically this is what sums up a platformer to me; third person view, collect different types of items, revisit areas when new abilities are unlocked, cartoony, light looping soundtrack, needing to get to higher places, basic problem solving, jump puzzles, friendly characters, good VS evil, Health systems, Boss levels.

So yep, I just included the Lego TT series, I love those, I have L:SW complete Saga and Lego Batman, I'll be getting Lego Indiana Jones too.
But I just want more platformers back like when they ruled on the PSone and PS2 with an iron fist and people just to stop dismissing them, especially comparing them to those games which are under the 'casual' umbrella.
Jinxstar  +   2009d ago
I hear you man. I miss game like MDK, Mario 64, Old Mega man, Earth Worm jim and all those. However I have hope for new games like Bionic Commando and Street fighter 4(Not platformer) to bring back an old school feel... I hope I am right. More so then banjo anyway... Or Castlevania for the Wii.

Either way game on Bro.
SinnedNogara  +   2008d ago
I agree, platformers are AWESOME!
ape007  +   2008d ago
oh my god
donkey kong country,2 and 3 are unbelievable

earthworm jim was awesome

sad,cause they will never made games like those(except lbp which is unbelievable)
celldomceen1  +   2008d ago
GOD DKC WAS AMAZING some of the best platforming ever, from the graphics to the music it was masterfully crafted.
dredgewalker  +   2008d ago
Castlevania SOTN the best for me.
Cajun Chicken  +   2008d ago
Yeah, the DK games were pretty good, I was only talking to my friend yesterday why any real DKC games haven't appeared on the DS/Wii yet and explained the situation that MS bought Rare.

Still. I think that Travellers Tales would be pretty good to outsource the licence of a new DKC game to, they did a pretty good job with Crash Bandicoot.
pixelsword  +   2008d ago
Platform games are as hardcore as FPS
everyone forgets that Contra may be a 2D side-scroller, but it's as platform as Super Mario Bros.; and as hardcore as Duke Nukem.

Great Article.
Cajun Chicken  +   2008d ago
Thanks.
SAiOSiN  +   2007d ago
I need Jak and Daxter. There is so much they could do with it on the PS3. Ratchet should bring back the multiplayer.
Cajun Chicken  +   2007d ago
I TOO NEED Jak and Daxter back again. As much as I like the Uncharted series, ND are the king of 3D platformers, a return to a platform game from them could set a wave in the industry...

Especially Jak, man...I love the Jak games.

Jak2...legendary.

I never played Ratchet multplayer, but with PSN free, in the next Ratchet I think its a must. I would love to play against people in wacky third person shootery action.
#8.1 (Edited 2007d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Lombax  +   2007d ago
I never thought platformers were "casual"
I do agree that we aren't getting enough of 'em this gen.

I hope inFamous is REALLY good (and doesn't suffer from the problem I had with Assassins Creed, no effing jump button and the climbing was too easy for its own good, I couldn't even finish the game because it bored the hell outa me) that will tide me over till the next R&C. I'll be getting the new Sly Cooper day 1.

As much as I want a new Jak & dax I hope Naughty doesn't dev it. I like the new IP every gen groove they're in.

*wonders about Uncharted cart racer*

(Side Note: This is one of the main reasons I don't own an XboX. No Platformers... well maybe one... Crackdown?)
#9 (Edited 2007d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Cajun Chicken  +   2006d ago
@Lombax
If one of your friends has a 360 and has bought XBLA game, 'The Maw', cheekily ask them if you can complete it (Like my friends have). Great platform game, short but a really good platform game experience. Not really worth buying a 360 alone for, but a really good small game you should play.

Yeah, Crackdown is excellent, not really a platformer, but figuring out how to jump through the urban jungle feels great, personally the best game on the 360 as I really struggle for titles on the 360.
But I'm sure Infamous and Prototype will top it since being inspired by it with original game mechanics in the formula, I'm looking forward to the possibility of Crackdown 2 too.

I want ND to make Jak4...I wouldn't mind either Ready at Dawn or BigRedButton (Crash and Jak lead character designer/artist's Bob Rafei new dev company) making it. But ND would be better, but Jason Rubin's left now, he was the guy behind Crash and Jak. Just imagine the impact if ND DID start making platform games again, even between Uncharted, they were the KING of platformers years before, it would totally alter the industry.

Heh, Uncharted Kart racer. I'd love to see how ND end Uncharted, they need that bonus game, that's tradition, I doubt it'll be racing, lol. Maybe a lightgun game that uses the new GCon Gun, that would be awesome.
Lombax  +   2006d ago
The Maw huh?
I'll have to check that out. I do got a friend with a 360, and he buys just about every game ever released. So there is a chance I can play this.

Thanks for the "Heads up" :)
grantps3  +   2006d ago
i think HALO is more casual than LBP.....
fossilfern  +   2006d ago
well im sure casual gamers will get their mits into platformers and bring the quality down but since games are going far too casual now adays im thinking of packing gaming in next gen if it continues i blame this on nintendo to be honest but my once favourate past time is dying infront of me :(
Cajun Chicken  +   2006d ago
XBLA's The Maw gives me new hope for the future of platformers.
Shnazzyone  +   2006d ago
Nice blog!
Hmm, Your right platformers have never been casual really providing their difficult and the gameplay does change throughout. I think most of the fanboy like labeling extra crap casual just to demean the lineup of the wii further. Thusly their heads will be shoved futhur up their own asses to the world where FPS games are the only games that exist and matter.
The Matrix  +   1994d ago
Totally agree with your blog. I'm a hardcore gamer but guess what my favorite video game of all time is? Ratchet and Clank 2 Going Commando.

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