In the second chapter of Casual Revolution, the characteristics of a causal versus a hardcore game are discussed. Eric Zimmerman offers this explanation of the difference: “As a producer of culture, I like to think that my audience can have a deep and dedicated and meaningful relationship with the works that I produce. And the notion of a casual game implies a light and less meaningful relationship to the work.” I think this is a perfect way to describe causal versus hardcore games. Hardcore games require more investment (in time and emotional involvement), so players develop a deeper relationship with the game. Casual games are not as demanding of the player, so the relationship is not nearly as developed.
Later in the chapter, however, hardcore games are defined as being difficult, time-consuming, and emotionally negative. Casual games are defined as positive and easy. Wait, what? Now there’s not just a division between games, it’s turned into.. elitist gamer versus noob. Noobs play happy, easy, casual games– and elitist play the good games. I have a hard time accepting Zimmerman’s way of dividing games. I can see what he describes as hardcore games being a category, and causal games being another category, but amongst other categories. Not just hardcore and casual.
Games that aren’t dark and heavy aren’t always easy. What about rhythm games? What about puzzle games? What about RPGs? What about adventure games? Yes, these categories tend to be easy– but it’s unfair to say that just because they’re not shoot-em-up games, they’re easy. Overall, I see Zimmerman as dividing games this way: what he personally finds to be a “good” game, and then everything else. This chapter is elitist. He needs to expand his horizons and keep an open mind to different types of games.