OPINION: What is a Core Game?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

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Last week Nintendo started a new ad campaign which featured various celebrities proudly holding up their 3DSs and stating with confidence, “I am not a gamer!” This sparked outrage amongst the gaming community, as the ads seem to place stigma on the label of “gamer” and on anyone who associates themselves with it.

It is stated in the ads that although these individuals play games, they are not “gamers”. I, personally, believe that Nintendo intended no harm with this campaign; they were merely stating that anyone, regardless of gaming experience, can enjoy games developed and published by them. However, it was poorly executed and as a result Nintendo have received a  lot of backlash from the gaming community, and we at Oprainfall have had our say. But these ads got us thinking: The terms “casual” and “core” are often tossed around when talking about games and gamers, but what do they actually mean?

The past week has seen an intense debate in the staff room about the qualities that separate a “core” game from its “casual” counterpart, with nearly everyone contributing their own ideas.


Richard  Ross: I hate those titles, you either play video games or you don’t. That includes SolitaireMinesweeperHearts, and Angry Birds. To me it’s this way of trying to feel superior to other people, a way for a son to say that he’s a “core gamer” because he can “pwn noobs” in Call of Duty unlike his Mom who can play a mean Backgammon.

Steven Boaz:  There are people that are HARDCORE into The Sims and FarmVille…. are they casual or core? Many of them spend more time than I do playing games and are far more dedicated than I am because they dump hundreds of dollars into microtransactions. Or people that are hardcore into Train Simulator and invest several THOUSAND dollars into collecting all of the expansions. I just play games. I like Zelda. I like Mario. I like Half Life. I like Halo. I like Perfect Dark. I like Viva Pinata and Animal Crossing. I don’t care what you call me just give me games that are fun.

Crystal Baltimore: I hate this label of “core” or “casual”. I am a hardcore casual gamer. I play everything. everything! If I am playing Plants vs Zombies or The Sims, does that make me casual? What if I spend 8 hours playing one of these, which would be a more “core” thing to do?

Generally casuals are thought of as people who spend a few minutess here and there playing any game you can just pick up play for a few moments and then go along with life. I guess if I am forced to define a core player then I would say it would be anyone who chooses to play games as their main source of entertainment. If you would choose to sit and play any game rather then another hobby then to me, you’re a core gamer. If you spend your extra money on games or specifically budget for video games then you’re a core gamer. I know my opinion is not probably the norm but it’s how I feel.

In all seriousness, have you guys seen the new SimCity trailer? I’m not a fan of The Sims games, but that game looks HARD.

Devin Kotani: I don’t like the “core” and “casual” labels. In reality, I think people tend to use “core” to mean, “games I like,” and “casual” to mean, “games I don’t like.”

In other words, I think “core” and “casual” are just used as a form of self validation.

Migui Goryu Rossy: There is no ‘Hardcore’ or ‘Casual’, both of those titles mean nothing to me. I play Facebook games, phone games and games on my PS3, PS2 and Wii. Why should ANY gamer be cast down by what they play? Why do we judge other gamers based on our tastes? Who are we to do that? We’re nobody, that’s who. Gaming is for fun and video games are no exception to this rule. It’s a hobby used to loose yourself of life’s burdens and just free your mind from the stress of daily tasks; it’s a pleasure like no other to lose yourself in the game and just crack a smile, have something to feel great about, finishing that one hard level or uncovering a secret path that you never expected to find or beating that high score from another online player like yourself. Gaming to me is pure bliss, and we shouldn’t take it away from others who experience it as well, but differently. As long as you’re having fun…that’s what matters. That’s what games are…pure fun. If you forget that and judge others like ‘Casual’ or ‘Hardcore’ then it’s time to find a new hobby and move on.


So, everyone on on this page believes that there should be no distinction between the “core” and the “casual” crowd. But there are some on staff, (including yours truly) who believe that “core” and “casual” games do exist as separate entities. To find out who, and why, head over to page two!

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