New Module – Casual Games (4/11/13)

We have been introduced to a new module this week, the module is just a quarter of our overall assignment.

C – Casual Gaming and Gamers

“126 million Americans, or 87 percent of U.S. gamers ages 10 to 65, play games on social networks or casual game websites.”

– John Gaudiosi on stats by Newzoo, via Hollywood Reporter Online, 2012

You will discuss and research the area of gaming culture often defined as Casual Gaming and establish (through class lectures/workshops/seminars) that there are certain criteria/features that are essential or common across games of this type and can be used to help define a casual game, as well as particular markets and audiences.

You are to log all your findings on your reflective journal/project development blog. This should include discussion of Casual Game Markets, Revenue Streams, Genres, Comparison with other Games markets, platforms etc.

Based on this understanding you are to develop initial “thumbnail concepts” for a casual game with each of the following markets in mind:

10yrs -14yrs (can include IP tie-ins); 14yrs + (female market), 35 + (Genre market).

Audience/peer and tutor feedback from your initial presentations will help you select which game concept seems the most valid when considering “real world markets”.

Using this knowledge combined with your own research and desire to make simple, intuitive interactive experiences, you are to develop one of these concepts further, from your initial designs, right the way through to the production of a Product Design Proposal (PDP) or High Concept Document (HCD) as it is sometimes known.

Your PDP/HCD will include rules, rewards, screen/gameplay mock-ups.

This document should be prepared for delivery as both a printed document as well as a digital presentation (You may use Flash/Powerpoint, Video, your Blog or any other appropriate delivery system you prefer).

This presentation and document should act as a rolling demo or “Proof of Concept” to aid the explanation of the games core mechanics.

You should (if possible) attempt to make a segment of your game playable if you feel confident enough using Flash or other software.

In addition to your PDP or HCD and your design development work you will submit an additional evaluation that reflects on how well you have implemented your game concept in light of your initial proposal and research. This documentation is to be submitted as part of your ongoing reflective journal/project development blog.

Finally you will present your game prototype to your peers and take any questions they may have.

Following this presentation we have been given a list of things to do and research to hand in.

  • We need to research into casual games and where they stem from.
  • Produce a 500 word (Minimum) document outlining our research.
  • Creating a list of defining Characteristics of casual games.
  • Use visuals where appropriate.
  • Standard Harvard Referencing where appropriate.

These points are the minimum to just get the mark, extra work and research is what will push my mark even further. This is my initial research into this subject: Casual Games & Casual Gamers.

Casual Game

A Casual Game is a video game targeted at or used by a mass audience of Casual Gamers. Casual games can have any type of gameplay, and can fit into any genre (RPG Role Playing Games, FPS First Person Shooter, Etc…) Casual games can be identified by their simple set of rules and lack of commitment needed to play unlike hardcore games that have lots of rules and intricate controls that need to be mastered in order to play effectively. Casual games require no commitment or special skills to play. Casual games are usually played on a computer or online web browsers, although they are now expanding and starting to become popular on games consoles and even mobile phones and tablets. Casual gamers are typically older than computer gamers and more often female. 74% of casual gamers are female.

Casual Gamer

A Casual Gamer is a player whose time or interest in playing games is limited. Casual Gamers tend to favor playing games which where designed for ease of gameplay and dont spend much time playing games that need more attention or require the player to be more involved. The genres that casual gamers play can vary, and they might not even own a games console to play their games in which time they use phones or other such devices. The typical casual gamer is older and more predominantly female, but there is also a subset of casual gamer, the “Fitness Gamer”, who plays motion-based exercise games (Eg. Wii Fit)

The term casual gamer can be used to describe a person who plays a game, no matter what the difference in game is for example. Mobile games: Candy crush, Angry birds, Temple run to name but a few or a card game like Solitaire or even some simplistic computer games like Minesweeper and Bomberman. These games all show a difference in play style and access ability, I believe that the increase in gamers over the past few years is down to the ease at which these games can be accessed on hand held devices such as: PSP, Nintendo DS and even more so on the Mobile Phone.

I will Follow up this Blog entry with my research into the term “Casual Games” and where they come from and a list of defining characteristics of a casual game.

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