I Don't Believe In Casual Games
Ha ha ha, the Playstation Move looks like a glowing dildo—a ploy to capture the “casual” audience no doubt. Now that the 13 year old giggles are satisfied, I’d like to congratulate Sony on what possibly could be the most important introduction to the gaming industry after Apple’s iPad. And I must stress the word “important” because either it could be the second coming of the Playstation brand, which introduced a new venue for games to be “cool” or it could be the second coming of the Wii, which introduced a new venue for games to be pretentious soccer-mom toys. Well, to all the morons on the internet who claims that the Move is just the Wii a few years later, I’d like to point out a glaring difference that separates the two products: the Move is an ineffective door prop.
And that’s an extremely important separation because then the audience for the Move will be forced to use it for gaming purposes or it will be doomed to be just another thing lying in the bedroom somewhere. Consequently, the Playstation Move can’t be just a vibrating toy to please women, despite every attempt from Sony to convince people otherwise. Still, I can see the Move go either way.
Let’s be pessimistic first and assume that Sony is foaming at the mouth, staring jealously at Nintendo’s success with the casual ignorant, and release the Move as an introduction to an influx of mini-game simulations and useless whack-a-mole style shovelware. The first symptom for this direction would be a tsunami of commercials and trailers featuring smiling old people hopping around their living rooms and waving their arms fanatically to simulate some sort of fishing game. Once I see that on Youtube, I’d declare the Move officially dead because Sony would assume the fallacy that a casual gaming audience actually exist as a separate entity from “us real gamers.” There are no casual gamers—there are only gamers who troll forums and gamers who knit. Similarly, there are no casual games. There are good games and bad games. Slapping a title of “casual” is like admitting to being “crap.” But that doesn’t have to be true. “Casual” games are just games that are a bit easier to pick up and play, and judging by the draught of games with any bit of difficulty, hardcore games are heading that direction anyways.
But the point is, there are no such thing as casual games for casual audience. There are just good games for all audience or bad games for no audience, and the Move should just be a more intuitive method to control all games. Therefore, introducing Move-specific casual games is just an insulting and patronizing way of telling old people that they’re not smart enough to play games like normal people. But they’re not witless sloths. I’ve seen old people play chess and conquer Sudoku books and complete Sunday crossword puzzles all within a week. So I know old people aren’t dumb. And old people aren’t all arthritic either. If my grandparents possess the hand-eye coordination to brush their teeth, they can accomplish the universal game mechanic of aim and shoot. Besides, I’ve seen old people actually operating an iPad! So there’s no need for this shooter-filled industry to introduce a “special” category of games to cater dumb people. So stop it.
Still, I’m reminded of the fact that the “casual” audience doesn’t actually look for good games. They walk into GameStop, greet a clerk, and a clerk immediately direct them to boring-ville, assuming their inability to appreciate the brilliance of Uncharted 2. And then these old women girlfriends would bring their games home, surprise their boyfriends with a self-imposed sense of accomplishment, only to bore everyone half to death, and finally conclude that games are just not for them. It’s a poisonous cycle that drives these casual gamers away.
But I digress. Sony’s Move could prove to be a positive introduction to this industry because it could be used for hardcore good games while dressed up as a casual toy for moms. Hopefully, with the plethora of demonstrations for good games like Socom, Little Big Planet, Resident Evil 5, and a barebones skeleton fantasy swordplay game, developers would ignore the misleading sales number of Just Dance and make Move-enabled good games.
Then perhaps casual gamers will finally be tricked by the industry to pick up the Move and a Move-applied hardcore game, just to give it a try. And perhaps, if Team Ico could utilize only 5% of their limitless brilliance to incorporate Move into Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, Roger Ebert could finally realize that games actually do have artistic merits and submit himself to five hundred lashes for his blasphemy, but that’s for another time in another post, maybe.