Electron Dance
25Jan/184

Transmission: Shadowhand & Friends

One hour. Four games... or so.

Stream tonight, Thursday 25 January, and will begin at 9:30PM UK, 10:30PM Central Europe, 4:30PM EST. My Twitch channel can be found at twitch.tv/electrondance.

I will discuss the following titles:

Update: Here's the archived stream. We didn't have time for Valley - next month!

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  1. What’s the difference between casual games, board games, card games and video games? Obviously when a casual game is made specifically to be a “video-game” it’s different from an adaptation. But even that, it is another thing. And a casual game can feel more simple and designed to be fast played, but there are games like Assassin’s Creed who without the “narrative”, “background”, “storyline”and “visual” the gameplay is very casual, the interface is simple and the mechanics repetitive, it is like a casual game with dozens of hours of gaming, you save your progress in any time you want, but only to continue playing the same repetitive way you are playing, you can go eat sandwich and get back and it will be the is same experience. If the difference lies on the time you really have to invest to play the game, and not only that, but to be immerse in that virtual or ludic experience, then a 16-bit game can be less casual then an Assassin’s Creed that doesn’t demands the player any concentration or 15 minutes of continuous gameplay nor it will punish the player or the gameplay with greater difficult either from the IA or the challenge. The game will go on easily without any cost of time. But if a casual game is identified by the deepness and the possibilities offered, being the casual game more superficial and restrict than a “normal” game, than again Assassin’s Creed offer less deepness and possibilities than a chess game.

  2. So I’m going to make up for not replying to last year’s comment YET by replying to your two more recent comments this week, Pedro :)

    Casual games came in for a lot of stick from “long-time gamers” because casual games were aimed at a wider audience, people enjoyed a spot of solitaire rather than having to learn the thirteen million tools and abilities available in Dishonored. Casual games have some pretty strong signifiers, mechanics that are easy to pick up and they’re often quite bouncy and bright, like a boyfriend/girlfriend who is trying a little too hard to please you. “You’re having fun, right? Go on, say you’re having fun!”

    I just spent a few minutes looking for this, but it is one of my favourite pieces of snarky writing I’ve done on AAA games:

    “The mainstream is all about the super-polish. Games polished to the point where you can barely see the mechanics any more. For all the misguided fear that art games are going to take over the world, some shooters are more like Dear Esther than Dear Esther is.”

    AAA games often come across like they overload players with activities to learn – destroying their casual nature – then break it all down into a baby food so it’s not that difficult for anyone to proceed. There’s something a little weird about games that do their best to present as complex then spend the rest of the effort undermining it. I could spend some words justifying it, but it’s far more fun just to leave this hanging. AAA games are now far more similar to casual games than you’d think – they want to be loved and approachable.

  3. Forgot to add – that quote is from Fish Out of Water.

  4. Great lines Joel! I liked this concept of “polish”, this is true, AAA games are baby food.

    I don’t think casual games are bad, on the contrary, many moments of the year I doesn’t have any time or the disposition to play longer games, then, I search the casual ones, the game I played most last year is Chess! Actually I think these casual games has a greater potential, many board games like chess and card games has many interesting concepts behind.

    Assassin’s Creed has a great world, the action is very dumb, doesn’t do any favour, instead of creating a touristy mode, they could improve the gameplay focused on exploration, many of these games has cameras which disturbs more than help.

    I always think how GTA could be excellent city simulator, to just explore and run around, if doesn’t have this action violence focus.

    Bioshock Infinite had this promisse of complexity, but what it comes out was a very simple game, more simple than Duke Nuken.


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