The press and publishers often try to split gamers into two groups, the hardcore and the casual. Here are rough descriptions:
Hardcore gamers play serious games, deep games, and they play a LOT. They have a lot of time, and they get invested into games. They play mods, they read strategy guides, they are probably 14 year old boys. They like zombies and killing stuff. They play games like Skyrim, Call of Duty, Men of War, Starcraft. Their favorite color is dark brown, stained with the blood of orcs.
Casual gamers play fun cute games. They play simple games, and only in short chunks. They cannot cope with 2 mouse buttons, or reading instructions. They hate violence. They are all 40+ soccer moms and they like kittens and cooking. They play games like farmville and peggle, and match-3 games. Their favorite color is the fluffy white of a pony’s mane, draped across a basket of flowers.
But of course this is bullshit.
I am *time poor* when it comes to games, but I love deep hardcore serious strategy stuff, with orcs and blood, and ok, maybe the odd kitten, but it’s a kitten with razor sharp claws who battles his enemies and earns steam achievements.
What I think game designers may have missed, is that the 14 year old hardcore starcraft players of yore, are now 30+ with kids. maybe even 40+ like me. They understand and love serious hardcore games but are time poor. Right now I genuinely play more battlefield 3 than anno because anno takes longer to load for me.
What they want, perhaps… is bite sized hardcore? I present to you, the first draft of
THE BITE SIZED HARDCORE MANIFESTO.
What we demand is…
1) No pandering to casual gaming stereotypes. No gratuitous kittens or ‘cute’ cuddly characters.
2) No time wasting. No splash screens, intros, or FMV. We have 30 minutes tonight for gaming. Ensure all 30 minutes have us interacting with the game.
3) No Grind. We have day jobs. leave the grind to the kids in the F2P MMOs where it belongs. Give me decent, varying content, without filler. And don’t reward grind either, with bonus achievements for time played, or 1,000 low level rats clubbed.
4) No nickel+diming. We have proper jobs and disposable income. If the game is good, we will buy outright. Don’t keep breakign immersion to try and sell us $0.05 worth of magic pixie dust.
5) No oversimplification. We can cope with 2 mouse buttons, maybe even 3, and a wheel. We can cope with right clicking, tech trees, customisable units and mods.
6) No mandatory training levels or tutorials that cover the obvious. This is my 245th first person shooter. I can guess that WSAD moves, the mouse looks, and the mouse shoots. At the very least, let me skip tutorial stuff I don’t need.
7) Don’t patronize us. We shouldn’t get an achievement for hitting the jump key, or told we are awesome soldiers for hitting a tin can. Leave that crap for kids in kindergarten.
8) Be original. We have gamed before. We have fought in many a crate-strewn corridoor, and killed many a rat and returned their hides to someone who is too lazy to do it themselves. We have heard many tales of lost kingdoms and evil wizards. Surprise us. Please.
What needs adding?