Casual games and marketing

Gamasutra has an article on Big Fish Games’ CSO explaining that the “hardcore” and “casual” aren’t sufficient categories to divide the market up, and arguing that we need more categories with more kinds of game. Which is true, but I can’t help finding it a little ironic considering the source.

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing some of Chocolatier’s The Great Chocolate Chase, which is a time-management variation on their usual theme. It’s almost entirely a replay of Diner Dash, Cake Mania, Vogue Tales, etc., which is disappointing. It’s also not as well tuned as it could be: at least, I got relatively smoothly through quite a few levels and then have completely bombed out at level 40, which I can’t pass despite many replays: even if I manage to serve every customer without turning any of them away (quite a feat at this level), I’m not making my target for the day.

I’m very slightly curious about the (slender, minimal) threads of story built into the game, but that may not be enough to propel me past this plateau.

Time Management, meet Tower Defense

At least six months ago, lured in by the Chocolatier and Tradewinds games, I joined Big Fish Games’ Game Club, and now I get a game credit every month. The last few months, I’ve been at a loss for how to spend it. That’s partly thanks to the relative dearth of material for the Mac, partly to the grinding uninventiveness of some segments of the casual game industry. I don’t like hidden object games or platformers or shooters very much; despise match-3 and mahjong. I enjoyed Diner Dash and the first few of its clones I played, but now there are so many that I wince at the sight of any two-word-title ending in Dash, Frenzy, Fever, Mania, or Madness.

This despite the fact that I’ve played a whole bunch of tower defense games, and enjoyed them all. Some game mechanics are inherently more resilient than others, and the resilience has to do with the strategic richness of play. It’s easy to introduce new strategic problems to tower defense games. Continue reading “Time Management, meet Tower Defense”