03 July 2010

Still Playing Casual Games

Back in March I wrote an extensive post about the casual games I was playing. I ended it by speculating that I would probably get bored with such games in a couple weeks and move back to card games and such. Well, here I am almost four months later, and I am still playing games of the hidden object, match three, and time-management varieties. Why? Because they are ideally suited to what my brain can handle right now.

With my Gamefly account, I make sure to spread my choices across all the platforms we have available in this house: PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS, and the Wii. Even though the subscription was a birthday gift to myself, it has turned out to be more of a treat for the kids because all the games that I thought I wanted to play turn out to be too frustrating for me. I've become accustomed to playing on PCs where most of the control is done through simple mouse clicks. I can click or mouse-over anything on the screen to figure out how to use it or what my game objective is. I've played several games where I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing or how I was supposed to be doing it. Right now the only console games that make sense to me are music games like Rock Band and exercise games like DDR or Wii Fit.

Another great thing about casual games is how quickly you can drop in and out of them. I've read that in several articles about the genre and dismissed the comment as obvious, but now I truly understand the appeal of that aspect. There have been several times just this past week when I've spent the whole morning working intensely and wishing for just five minutes of mindless fun. It is nice to be able to fire up a game like Pizza Frenzy or Farm Craft, play for a few minutes, and drop out of it quickly without worrying about saving your progress or anything. I can play these games and talk to my coworkers at the same time on my lunch break.

I still have this fantasy in the back of my head that when I retire, I'll be able to play a game that requires more commitment and mental concentration from me. I really do want to play something that offers me entertainment and challenge in the same package. Right now, though, casual games give me the fun without the frustration.

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