This generation we have seen the maturity of casual gaming. Casual games have always been with us, driving the industry forward for some time now. One of my favorite game memories is playing Fifa, NHL hockey & Madden Football (double header on the Megadrive / Genesis version … oh yeah!). At the time these games were really special, the love and attention that went into these games really shone through when you played with friends. In fact they were not even classed as casual games yet. The real shame is that this attention and care does not seem to be present in casual & sports games. For a very long period of time publishers realized that people that buy these games are like lemmings, and will pay good money year after year for content that is not much different that the last in the franchise.
What's interesting is that so far, the industry has split off into two recognizable groups that play games, Casual and Hardcore. Nintendo has punctuated this by manufacturing the Wii marketed for casual gamers. But what is a casual gamer? Gamers that don not have experience playing many games, are not aware of what rich media the games platform can deliver, or they choose to avoid it. Right now publishers are aware of this gap in the market and they are rapidly trying to provide for it by pushing out games with big creativity but little depth. Some of them work and are fun (which for this market is important) but, are not we missing a greater opportunity by doing this? In my eyes games now has the largest opportunity to prove itself to this community. It is important to demonstrate how games can provide fun social experiences for all, but have we shown them compelling storylines, engrossing gameplay and hellish atmospheric experiences? We have finally captured the attention of those unable to comprehend the 'Dragon punch / sho-ryu-ken', those that stumble around in First person shooters looking at the floor and ceiling whilst fumbling off each wall.
We need to embrace and empower these people, by developing titles which stimulate and entice them to not to play again, but to play through. Remember, someone is not stupid because of bad hand eye coordination. It just means that you're better than them. Next time you see grandpa hit a home run on the Wii before making a quick scramble to pickup his false teeth off the carpet, remember you could Pwn him at any second. You beast.