Casual vs. Hardcore

Let me just leave this here…

casual gamer

File under: one more piece of evidence that the hardcore/casual binary is understood as a gendered binary.

Hardcore = insider knowledge, knowledge of tech and hardware, commitment to games

Casual = “I love shopping for sales!”, cleaning, and ALWAYS The Sims.

I’m surprised they didn’t work Bejeweled in the somewhere…

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8 thoughts on “Casual vs. Hardcore

  1. Why does it matter? I mean…a computer is a computer game. Is there a competition? I play The Sims all weekend many times. I spent lots of money getting a computer built so that it could run the new Sims on the highest graphics. And my game cost way more than $5. Soooo…I don’t get what your issue is.

    • That is exactly my point, Jamie. To many, it IS seen as a competition. There are a lot of hardcore gamers out there who rag on so-called casual gamers and lament that they are being catered to at all. The assumption that EITHER you spend lots of money on games and hardware OR you only play casual games is a false one. The assumption that hardcore gamers are “real” gamers while casual gamers are merely dabbling in the hobby or are too new or too tasteless to appreciate “real” games (whatever that means) is a false one. The assumption that all or most hardcore gamers are male and all or most casual gamers are female is a false one. But this ad seizes upon those faulty assumptions in an attempt to pander to a certain subset of gamers that likes to imagine itself to be “elite” and thus likes to perpetuate such stereotypes.

      • And, for the record, I adore The Sims! (although I prefer The Sims 3 to The Sims 4) I merely note that, for whatever reason, The Sims is the go-to example (along with Bejeweled) of casual games, perhaps because it is so popular.

    • I think we are actually in agreement, Jamie. My point is that this ad is suggesting that casual gamers (here imagined as female gamers) are not “true” gamers. And I think that is super problematic! Its too bad that this ad buys into the Fake Geek Girl meme that your video outlines.

      • I don’t get why people are so…mean to girls who game. Who cares even if people are casual gamers? They still game. And those people are probably interested in other games. I don’t like shooter games because they stress me out. I prefer games like The Sims or SimCity or even a fun one called Banished. I just don’t want to be stressed when gaming. Why does that make me less of a gamer than someone who spends all night with a headset on planning to overtake a special cave with a dragon or whatever? Gaming is fun…it’s not meant to make people feel bad about themselves. Silly people out there…

  2. For sure. I think some people just feel threatened by the idea that gaming is no longer a niche activity, that its becoming popular with all sorts of different people and, thus, all sorts of different games are being created. This means that gaming doesn’t “belong” to them anymore (as if it ever did), and some of them are pitching a fit and throwing around labels like Fake Geek Girls or harassing developers a la #GamerGate.

    And: I love Banished, too! I haven’t played a ton of it, but I love watching the little villagers go about their day working at their jobs. It reminds me a lot of this game I used to play when I was a kid called Knights and Merchants, only in that game my pleasant village building experience would get interrupted by these INTENSELY stressful (and difficult to control) RTS battles. Banished is perfect for me because it has all the pretty and idyllic medieval life imagery and none of the generalship.

    I also really liked Black and White and Reus for similar reasons.

    PS: Thanks for visiting!

  3. The things they have on the “hardcore” side are silly requirements:

    – My WASD keys are just fine. You just have a crappy keyboard. A “hardcore” PC gamer most likely isn’t going to get a cheap membrane keyboard; they’ll pay extra for a mechanical one that is guaranteed to last longer and has easily replaceable caps.
    – You don’t need to be “hardcore” to know what the RROD is. It was such a widespread problem that anyone who owned (or still owns) an XBOX360 from many years ago probably heard about it and worried it might happen to their console.
    – That entirely depends on what you consider to be a small fortune. I spent $800 to buy the parts for my computer and built it myself, but I also opted for extras that you don’t necessarily need like a dedicated SSD for my windows installation + programs. I probably could have cut about $200 or so if I had gone with a single hard drive and went with a cheaper graphics card, but I wanted the ability to do more than just gaming. I wanted video/image editing and streaming to be possible as well.
    – LAN parties aren’t all that common anymore since more games don’t really allow LAN play anyways. I know at least the big eSports titles don’t.
    – Honestly this last one is probably the only one that I don’t have issue with. Blowing away a weekend playing games can be a lot of fun if you don’t have anything important to take care of.

    I think the other major misconception in this picture is that all “hardcore” gamers are PC gamers, which isn’t true at all. Unfortunately since it seems this was an advertisement for a laptop (which I can guarantee you doesn’t play anything at max settings like the “hardcore” PC gaming crowd generally expects), it loses a lot of credibility and just makes ASUS look like it’s completely out of touch with the times we are in. That laptop is also most likely very overpriced for someone looking to play games on the go. The RROD comment also just seems out of place when every other part of being “hardcore” is centered around being a PC gamer. It would have been better to make a comment about screwing up while trying to overclock your PC than to randomly bring up a console problem.

    The “casual” gamer side is just dumb. Social commentary aside, the whole list sounds more like they’re describing someone who isn’t a gamer—just someone who plays the occasional game to kill some time every now and again.

    Though I will argue that the one about sales is more true about gamers on a budget. A lot of people wait to buy PC games until a Steam sale pops up because they know they’ll be able to get a lot of games for dirt cheap. Console gamers usually just have to wait a few months for a game to drop in price…unless it’s a first party Nintendo game—those can take years to drop in price.

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