A Brief History of Casual Games

Jake Birkett of Grey Alien Games (Shadow Hand, Regency Solitaire, and more) has a good article up talking about the history of casual games for personal computers from a developer’s perspective.

Tetris is, to me, the pinnacle of casual gaming. Experts can have so much skill to be at the higher levels, but it was always as approachable as less demanding puzzle games. Maybe people who balk at “casual games” would hesitate to slap the title on Tetris because they recognize how important it was as a foundational element of the modern gaming era.

Birkett ends his article by talking about what he wants from Steam:

However, Steam isn’t very appealing to casual gamers with it’s dark “gamer” theme and the inability to easily view old-fashioned casual game categories like match-3, HOG, card game etc. on a single landing page. If you browse “casual” on Steam, you’ll get a huge variety of games including “naughty” visual novels.

If Steam fixed that and basically made a really nice CURATED casual game landing page I think could poach a huge amount of sales from the casual portals.

The entire Steam storefront is a game for Valve to exploit the maximum profit from users. The only curation Valve’s team is interested in is the kind that users and journalists do without Valve paying them. If you’re not going to buy anything this second, they want you to look at a selection of games and tell their algorithms if the games are any good. If you get a virtual trading card for doing that you can sell it for 7 Steam Cents to someone else and they’ll end up with the majority of the sale. Steam will never be presentable to regular people because the theme is part of the game. Decoupling the theme from the program and website would unmask Steam for the nightmare exploitation machine that it has become.