Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gaming: Keeping it simple

Blog Post #8

Matt's section - Friday 11 AM

I admit I chuckled when I saw Diner Dash assigned on the syllabus. My familiarity with this game extends back to high school when I played it briefly during my high school years. I tried many of the games on AOL games but kept finding myself attracted to the arcade and then-called “lifestyle” games (now Diner Dash is listed under time management games). Soderman pinpoints the very reasons I enjoyed these games: “they are less time-consuming overall and play time is broken into shorter segments; they have simpler game mechanics and thus are easier to pick-up, play, and advance through” (14).

While this week focused on the relationship between labels and gender, the division of games into hardcore and casual reflects society’s perspective as a whole. By calling a game casual, it implies that it doesn’t require much effort or commitment. If a person is classified as a casual gamer, a similar sentiment is evoked. This person perhaps plays recreationally or basically whenever there he/she has time. The game isn’t a main focus in life. Yet, even though casual gamers might be laughed at by hardcore gamers in the world of video games, in society the hardcore gamer is an oft-ridiculed persona. Casual is the way to go. Simplicity is key. The fascination with the casual and its move to dominate the mainstream draws a parallel to other popular modes of behavior such as casual dating.

I had never categorized myself but based on the definitions provided, I would be a casual gamer. When asked about video game usage in the past, I always said I enjoyed video games. I don’t understand the need to label. For example: Are you only a hardcore gamer if you play hardcore games? That is, can one be a hardcore gamer of a game that is classified as casual? Where is the line drawn between hardcore and addiction? Professor Chun shared the story of her friend who was failing because he couldn’t stop playing Tetris. Would we call him a hardcore Tetris player or a Tetris addict?

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