IF for the hard-casual gamer?

Lately I’ve run across the term “hardcasual” or “hard-casual” to mean a game that appeals to a gamer’s sensibilities (rich and original game-play, not just another match-3 or time management clone) but offers the accessibility and limited commitment of a casual game. [1] [2] [3] [4].

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Make it juicy!

Often in IF design I think back to an old Gamasutra post on rapid game prototyping. (For a while I couldn’t find it again, having sort of sketchy memories of when it ran or what a good search term would be. But now I have, I thought it might interest other people as well.) I particularly like this bit:

“Juice” was our wet little term for constant and bountiful user feedback. A juicy game element will bounce and wiggle and squirt and make a little noise when you touch it. A juicy game feels alive and responds to everything you do — tons of cascading action and response for minimal user input. It makes the player feel powerful and in control of the world, and it coaches them through the rules of the game by constantly letting them know on a per-interaction basis how they are doing.

IF doesn’t do wiggles and squirts much, but it has its own kind of juice — fun and unique responses to as many commands as possible. And to judge by the success of Lost Pig and Suveh Nux on JayIsGames, I think this is part of what gives IF its appeal with newbies and people who aren’t hardcore IF fans.