A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A good article on casual versus hardcore...


A damned good article, and it looks to have a boatload of truth to it.

It even points out how the accessible stuff leads to the more complex things.

And how too much "me too" leads to "screw you". (Hell, I used to play a lot of MMORPGs, FPSes, and RTSes. Now the genres are so prevalent I pretty much LOATHE them outside of a few select titles.)

Just take SHMUPS for example. Tons of people to this day continue to play Galaga. The amount playing "Loli Bullet Hell Adventures" is probably 1% that. The old SHMUPS were easy, accessible, and fun while still giving a good challenge. The games kept trying to appease the hardcore by getting tougher and more complicated, eventually killing the genre. You can see the same in Fighting games too. Too many of them all competing for an ever decreasing ever more nichey hardcore who demand more, with few "gateway games" to bring newbies in, and what few there were rarely found the audience or were too far from the mainstream titles.

You can even see it in tabletop games. It is the REAL reason wargames went from selling 50,000-250,000 of most major releases to being a breakout hit if they sell 1000 copies. They went from a variety of easy and fun games like Ogre/GEV, Gettysburg Anniversary Edition, and even the more complex Squad Leader into stuff like Advanced Squad Leader and Starfleet Battles which were so complicated that almost nobody outside of an ever decreasing ever more demanding group (there they are again!) even bothered. The people who might like to shoot up some starships on a board is probably decently high. The amount who care about Electronic Counter Measures and Electronic Counter-Counter Measures (something Starfleet Battles has) is MUCH lower. I am a gamer and I don't care about it! Imagine your average nongamer or mildly interested person!

Which is how come the Eurogames like Catan and its ilk came in and swept the market, being incredibly HUGE in Europe, and having a rather dedicated fanbase in the US. I can get most total nongamers to play Catan. These people probably wouldn't approach most hobby games at all. And some of them might be slowly brought into playing more involved titles.

The part about players feeling like they don't suck counts too. When I play a modern SHMUP, I always feel like I suck. Its just not fun. Its too hard and I cannot even come to grips with it. If Guitar Hero and Rock Band only started on Medium I would have probably returned the game the very day I bought it. Because missing notes makes me feel like I suck. But i can play it on Easy which is a hell of a lot of fun for me and I have gotten pretty good on it. Some of my friends are the same way. The guy who was in Band in high school was good enough and had the desire and he usually plays at Medium, and has begun to play on Hard.

Ease of use. Start small, go big ONLY IF YOU REALLY WANT TO.

Its why Magic the Gathering is such a god awful game these days. Its almost always too complicated, and especially unless you are playing people of the same card access and skill level as yourself you ALWAYS FEEL LIKE YOU SUCK, since most Magic gamegroups are built of tourney players with badass decks who have no reservations about stomping you. Old Magic was kinda fun. Not as many rules and complexities, and far more casual gamers playing it.

Easily accessible games where even the newbies have a chance do much better. I rarely win Catan, but I have fun and most people who play it even when they lose always want MORE. I taught people Ogre/GEV, I lost because I was outplayed and my players are interested enough to play it again.

Overly complicated titles for an ever decreasing audience who are happy (until they reach their breaking/boredom point and leave anyhow!) isn't the way to go. Gaming NEEDS the sort of disruptions Nintendo in electronic gaming and Eurogames are in tabletop games.

No comments:


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Southeastern CT, United States
I like to play nerd games! I am a nerd! Join our nerd ways at https://www.facebook.com/groups/112040385527428/