Fan Service: Keeping It Casual

Mel really hates labeling gamers…labeling should be for food and video game titles only!

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 10/02/2012 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Fan Service Masthead Column 2 Pokémon

Hey there, boys and girls, and welcome back to yet another edition of Fan Service. This is where the best of fandom gets its props, and the worst of fandom gets its knocks. Today, I’m going to talk about the bane of most hardcore gamers’ existence — casual gaming. There’s a lot of stigma that goes along with the label of casual games that I find to be extremely unfair.

Casual gaming is a term that hardcore fans came up with to describe games that tend to appeal to people who don’t usually play video games. These are the games that we usually find online or on mobile phones, but plenty of them have either been made into a console/handheld version or were console/handheld games in the first place. A decent amount of hardcore fans have a disdain for these type of games because they believe that they’re part of the “Gamer Police” where having fun is a crime and playing casual games is a felony. I’m probably the worst kind of felon then, because I actually play casual games sometimes and I actually like them! Blasphemy, right?

I get the argument about casual video games. Yeah, a lot of them are stupid rehashes of things we’ve seen before. I also get that a lot of the people who play video games only for those games can be some real jerks at times. I mean I’m not a huge fan of a decent chunk of video games that are deemed casual, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all bad. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever have fun and play them. After all, who cares? As long as someone’s having fun and enjoying themselves, then why should we interfere? Why should we change our gaming habits just because some jerks try to ruin it for everybody else?

Angry Birds screenshot
Angry Birds has even invaded 3DS now…

Nintendo is at the center of all of this controversy because of its embracing of casual games. Nintendo never likes to label themselves with a demographic. They’re not for kids, they’re not for teenagers, they’re not for adults– they’re for everyone. They believe in universal appeal and that gets them in hot water. Yeah, sometimes they can shovel out the shovelware worse than the other consoles, but hey, it’s what sells, right? That doesn’t mean that they’re all about casual gamers, though. Admittedly, they did kind of let down the hardcore fan base with the Wii, but they’re looking to change that with Wii U.

Games that qualify as casual games are mostly puzzle-related games– things like Angry Birds, Zuma, Bookworm, and Brain Age. These are games that tend to be more about just playing a little and moving on. They’re time-wasters, but what’s so wrong with that? Sometimes, we can’t devote our entire time towards a game but have a little time to kill. These are the ideal kind of games for those situations. But then, there are the other games– the motion gaming ones like Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort, all of those games– and these are the ones that bring out the most ire.

Motion gaming tends to bring out the anger in all the hardcore gamers. They believe it’s ruined forever and that nobody will ever take their gaming seriously, like it’s some kind of art form. It’s their thing, and I understand that argument, but it doesn’t mean that you should be selfish and keep it all for yourself. Share a little bit. We all strive to be unique but shutting yourself out doesn’t help matters at all. Motion gaming is just another way to game. It helps people move around more and try and combat the couch potato syndrome, and let’s face it, the games are actually sometimes kind of fun.

Wii Sports Resort Screen
You know you love Wii Sports Resort really!

From my own personal standpoint, I don’t like this one bit. I don’t find it fair at all to judge people just because they enjoy casual gaming. Let them have their fun, I say. And, as I said earlier, I enjoy casual games myself. Not all, but there are some that are fun. Wii Sports is a lot of fun to play with others and you don’t have to worry about instructing them on what to do all the time. Peggle is probably one of my favorite casual games and is extremely addicting. Plus, I’m a sucker for cutesy things and bright colors. I also have played Wii Sports Resort and enjoyed it and I really like Wii Fit too, as it helped me lose a little weight around the edges a while back (I can’t find my Balance Board at the moment so I can’t partake in it right now). Casual gaming shouldn’t be considered a dirty word that causes you to be marked with the scarlet letter just because you might like it.

There are a lot of things that I believe that gaming should be about and bashing other types of gaming isn’t one of them. Gaming should be about just having fun and enjoying yourself. It should be about working your mind or sharing good times with your friends while playing. It shouldn’t be about being the Gamer Police and accusing everybody who play casual games to be worse than Hitler. And I highly doubt that Hitler would really like any kind of gaming, so don’t act like they play Wii Sports Tennis against him every Saturday night. It’s ridiculous and stupid, and as I said before, lighten up — it’s only fandom!

Until next time, this has been yet another edition of Fan Service. May your fandom be forever fabulous.

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