Jimquisition: Hardcore Hypocrisy

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Do these people even still exist? I mean who can deny the power of the mobile space anymore? I didn't even know there was a debate going on. Who is saying this? I mean in the world of the new indie game movement its hard to imagine someone being so out of touch they would consider even forming this opinion in their head nevermind expressing it out loud.

My favorite game of the last 5 years, World of Goo, is simple, 2D, short and could easily be used on an IOS device (slightly pre-dates the boom but same idea). Mobile games have been super high quality even before there was a mobil platform wide enough for them to latch onto. lower powered Indie PC titles and the best IOS titles are pretty much on a par right now.

To hate on IOS is really to hate on what is going on in the PC space had has been going on since award winning games like Gish.


Daystar Clarion:
Still doesn't explain why you gave Mario Kart that score for 'not changing anything', then MW3 ended up with a very high score.

You know Call of Duty right? That thing that gets repackaged every year?

I'm not a fan of Mario Kart myself, in fact, I prefer CoD to MK, but to see such a huge scoring difference is bizarre.

If you're scoring based solely on them re-releasing and not changing much every year, then yeah, they should be the same.

But that's where any similarities between the two end. One is a shooter, the other is a kart racer for fuck's sake. How anyone can even compare them is just... ridiculous. They're two entirely different games with entirely different styles aimed at entirely different markets.

Or if you want an actual explanation, it's because Call of Duty is really, really good at what it does, which is set-piece campaign, solid shooting controls, and addictive multiplayer and MW3 continued that. Whereas Mario Kart didn't do so well at what it does, which is kart racing. And it didn't do so well at that.

Again, one's a huge-budgeted shooter aimed at the console market. The other's a kart-racer aimed at the handheld market. They have NOTHING in common beyond being games that don't change much with each release.

When I read his MK7 review, it seemed that it wasn't just about not changing. It was about not changing the obvious problems that have been in the series for several games now.

Not to defend what tyson did or anything, but Punch out came out before he raped that girl, and I dont think the people at Punch out could see into the future (otherwise they all would have played the lottery and said fuck off to punch out). A lot like how Michael Vick is on the cover of Madden 2004 while he was with the Falcons back before he got into to the dog fighting thing.

Besides, Kobe Bryant is on the cover of NBA 2K10, so what really would it matter if they started just slapping on Mike Tyson's name to Punch Out for the celebrity endorsement?


Its gonna be funny when Jim has to make a video here defending himself for his mario kart/cod "controversy"

I thought Hardcore gamers were determined by how many and how often they play games but not what games they play...Nevertheless, the most "simple" games can be the hardiest to play.

Your definition of "causal" or "hardcore" can easily be determined by the style of play rather than the game itself so I wouldn't be too quick to judge others for being causal/hardcore gamers.

People who say that a game isn't a game are being arrogant and are not worth a single breath to explain how that game is a game.

Chess is one of the most "hardcore" casual games you could ever play. All the rules fit in less than half a side of a single sheet of paper, yet, it could take you years to learn to play effectively.

I agree that distinction of hardcore gamer versus casual gamer has become distorted. Back in the day, the hardcore gamer was one who spent a great deal of time with games of many different varieties and absorbing copious amounts of gaming information. Not only that, the hardcore gamer back then was the type of person who typically shunned the exact kind of mainstream titles that today are considered hardcore and spent significant time and effort searching for the more obscure and underground titles that few people knew about or played. These titles were often the extreme end of the quirky Japanese games, and the hardcore would often import these games and modify their systems to defeat the region lock-outs that would, otherwise, prevent them from playing these titles. Back then, it was not unusual for the hardcore gamer to own 3 or more different systems and 100+ games for each system. Can any of this be said of the so-called hardcore gamers of today?

Today's hardcore gamer seems more defined as simply someone who owns at least the one most technologically superior system(in terms of features and graphics capability) and who owns sequel after sequel of the same 5-7 high-budget triple-A titles(and triple-A no longer has any relation to overall quality as it once did, just high-end graphics and lots of money spent on production). Back in the day, we would call such a person a mainstream gamer, because they only focus on the most highly marketed and visible games.

However, going past this silly holy war of "hardcore" versus "casual", at the end of the day, it's all just games. It doesn't matter to call it hardcore, casual, mainstream, quirky, or whatever. It's a game. There are people it will appeal to and people it won't. These classifications we impose are immaterial. We play games because we like playing games. Period. End of story. If playing a game is one of your main modes of deriving fun and entertainment, then you are a gamer, independent of what kind of game you may like.

And it doesn't matter what platform you play upon, console, handheld, mobile device, PC, or Mac. It's all just games. These holy wars are nothing more than conceited justifications for rationalizing one's own self-importance and compensation for insecurities and lacking self-esteem.

The main problem is that the people who need to hear this aren't watching this show.

This topic is so...I can't even describe it. At this point, it's just beating down a dead horse.

I will say this though: games are evolving and getting bigger, more complex, advanced, deeper, and of course, much more expensive. Video games have come a long way and is still growing at a fast rate, faster then I thought imaginable. Because of this, we now have higher expectations for what makes a good/great game now. As great as it was during the time with classics like space invaders, Mario, donkey kong, PAC Man, etc. We dont want to go back to that, I know I don't.

We want to continue to get better with stories, adding more complexity to gameplay mechanics, more technological advancements in graphical capability. There is absolutely nothing wrong however with having an simple Mario or angry birds once and a while. But as a growing artistic medium, we should still focus on reaching our goals and limits to what this medium can REALLY do. Video games, now more then ever, have so much potential with their unique interactivity unlike other mediums, all that needs to happen now is for the industry to continue to make better quality games as technology continues to get more advanced.

I'm not sure if what I just said was even on topic, I just thought I would say what was on my mind after watching the video and reading some of the comments. I guess...well happy gaming.

Zachary Amaranth:

Well this is nothing but a giant strawman. Herpderp some ancient game was similar and its considered classic so if we make simplistic games now they too should be classics too derp. Its classic because it was good for its time. Then was then now is now. And i dont even give a shit about pacman or punch out. Jesus fuck.

So when you said "this," I assume you were describing your own post? Or are you suffering from that same "self awareness" problem Jim mentioned with the "Casual Shooter" thing?

Mario is simple, but I'm not sure I'd call it casual or accessible. If I was trying to hook someone onto gaming these days, I wouldn't start with a game based on memorization and tricking/trapping the player into dying.

I wouldn't introduce someone to card games with fucking 52 pick-up...

I can't speak for every new Mario, but The original SMB and SMB 3 both qualify as "shit my mom" played. And my dad, too.

My mom also seemed to have no problem with Super Mario Galaxy, despite having not played a video game since like 1989 or so. And she's not exactly the type of person you expect to dive into video games.

Does that make it the rule? No, but it does make it hard for me to buy the notion that a Mario game is a poor introduction.

SMB and SMB 3 (and SMW) are definitely the games I had in mind. I don't deny their importance to history, they were some of the first games I played too, but video arcades were still a widespread thing and pinball machines were in places other than museums. At that time there was no Pokemon or Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies. Mario fit fine in that paradigm; games were always trying to fuck you over and we accepted it because there wasn't anything else.

Super Mario is casual and accessible by the standards of Ninja Gaiden and Contra, not Super Mario Galaxy or Portal.

A bit of a waste of an episode to be honest. Everyone knows to ignore people who go on like this as they aren't hardcore gamers they are trolls and everyone should start using the actually definitions of hardcore and casual so this stuff can go away. A Hardcore gamer is someone who plays all games, has played games for a long time and goes out of their way to devote time to gaming. A Casual gamer is someone who does not take the hobby seriously and only dabbles in it rarely playing games or only 1 game. That is pretty much as close as an actual definitino you will get.

All I have to say to this Jim is:


Finally, someone who also sees how ridiculous "harcore gamers" are being.

As for me, I enjoy any kind of game that I find appealing. Shadow of the Colossus is my most favorite game of all time, and yet I also enjoy games like Angry Birds. Just because the latter is pretty simple compared to the former, does not make it any less of a game to me.

a bit tangential, but the only real gripes i have with IOS games are not that they're too simple. or that they're too casual; its that i cant get them on my pc! seriously! i would fling money at my laptop hard enough to blow a hole through it if i could get a pc compatible version for angry birds or infinity blade!... and no i wont buy an i-phone.... unless apple makes a deal with bethesda and you can buy an apple pip boy...

And now you can! Gasp!

Just to bring up, some people who want a "deeper" experience in some games (I have no idea what infinity blade is), do acknowledge gaming's roots, but realize it's grown and developed beyond them and have higher standards.

It's like when you were a kid; everyone was gushing over your ability to spell "cat", but when you grow and head in for that job interview, they expect more than you knowing the cow says "moo".

I'm not defending the people Jim is talking about (I can dig simplicity in newer games), but that people demanding more effort be put into games than the current "goldrush" to simpler platforms when the bigger budget games are left so shallow more often than not have a point.

Also speaking of IOS, anybody ever played Game Dev Story? Best $2 I ever spent. We need more of these type of games.

Thank you Jim for holding up Infinity Blade as an example of just how awesome iOS games are getting. if I'm not waiting for an update to download or I'm waiting for a food order to be completed, I wind up blowing a lot of time on both Infinity Blade games. Not for the graphics, that's pretty stupid on an iPhone game I mean if you want pretty colors watch a movie, but for the simple controls yet deep mechanics. Being able to watch enemies, learn their tells, parry their strikes then get in some swift combos, ohh man it's like crack! On top of that, Infinity Blade 2 adds the ability to dual wield weapons and go two-handed with maces and the like as opposed to the basic Sword and Shield fighting style. Also, you get different weapons with different abilities, different rings with diverse magic spells, and customizable gems to help tweak certain weapons. This is a "AAA" iPhone game for about seven dollars American, and I've been getting a lot of mileage out of it. As you said, simple interface, but lots of depth underneath, that is a great game, "hardcore" or "casual". And if Hardcore gamers want to dismiss it because its an iOS game, well hopefully they'll come around, but until then it's ours...ALL OURS!!! O_O

I don't think I've never known a term to be so confusing to people as "casual gamer", and I'm a fair bit older than most escapists. The term has been thrown around on gaming sites for years and I still can't find two people who agree on what it means. Even the infamously variable meaning of "RPG" tends to be better defined, and better understood, than "casual gamer".

I'm a PC gamer. I also consider myself a "hardcore gamer". And yet I've been enjoying iOS games for years. To my mind, a game is not automatically "casual" because of it's platform. Infinity Blade certainly isn't. Anyone can get the hang of Tetris in no time, but games like Infinity Blade assume a certain amount of (hardcore) gaming knowledge that most hardcore gamers don't even realise they have.

I agree with the overall message although I'm sure there are many other facets to the casual gamer culture other than simplicity that "hardcore" gamers do not like. Questionable marketing schemes as well as the way they sometimes abuse gamification mechanics are a few that pop up from my head. Although yes I absolutely agree that the overall gaming community should be more inclusive and not exclusive and smug.

That aside, the one thing that I do find rather irksome about this video and other Jim Sterling videos is the way he uses the love for simple classic games as a crutch and completely ignoring its context in time (I believe he uses that same argument in the discussion about difficulty in games). Most of the time people are deeply enamored with retro games not really because they hold up in modern context, although sometimes they absolutely do, but I think its because they were absolutely gorgeous/groundbreaking/addicting FOR ITS TIME. I love simple games as much as the next casual gamer but you would forgive me if I expect more out of my $400 console and $60 blu-ray. If I could get a game like Skyrim for $60 you best have a lot more under your belt than simplicity and retro nostalgia in order for me to pay the same amount.

I absolutely love the classics like Punch Out, Super Mario Brothers, and Contra, but there is no way I would be playing it again anytime soon.

I consider myself a "gamer" because I play games (quite often, like daily...) but would not put myself in "casual" or "hardcore" categories because there is always a sliding scale.
To a "non-gamer" I would probably be seen as hardcore, but to the "hardcore" I would seem more of a casual gamer, so what then?....

Games do not have to be "deep" or "impressive" brilliant, awesome, cool, best, and so on... I want my games to be fun TO ME, I don't need someone to tell me "that game you are enjoying are bad" it's fine to think that but do I have to care, no.
But say "Skyrim" sure it's a great game but why is it getting 10s all over have anyone watched the graphics (blocky faces, unimpressive ground/trees etc) should that not at least get some negative points? Sure the gameplay is awesome but why do the modding community have to "fix" such basic things as face-graphics? ... Will I enjoy it even though I "have" to modd it? Oh yes.. ;-D

Whatever happened to the litmus test of gaming, "easy to pick up, hard to master." There ya go. Length, complexity, budget... all those are secondary.

You know Jim, you're both right and wrong. You're right on the mark for the subject, but I'd wager your wrong on the group that is doing the slander. You're in the same age group as me, people that grew up with the fucking Atari and NES. I'm fairly confident the "hardcore haters" subset is all people that came in during the PS1 or PS2 era, and that's all they know is the more modernized games, where titles with the simplicity of Pac-man or Space Invaders was fewer and far between.

Which is honestly a fucking shame. As Pac-man Champsionship is the most played game on my Xbox360, bar none.

What I got out of that: "Oh shit, there's an Infinity Blade 2?! To the App Store!"

Daystar Clarion:
Still doesn't explain why you gave Mario Kart that score for 'not changing anything', then MW3 ended up with a very high score.

You know Call of Duty right? That thing that gets repackaged every year?

I'm not a fan of Mario Kart myself, in fact, I prefer CoD to MK, but to see such a huge scoring difference is bizarre.

Any game can be as hardcore or as casual as you make it. Mario, for most people, is a casual experience, but there will always be the speed run fanatics.

They both didn't change a lot. The thing is, there are single player campaigns, stories that arent in a previous game, and however small, if you are of the fanbase for it, you may want to see the next chapter.

Kart Customization is a superficial add on, not something necessarily needed or storyline expanding. Not only that, but things like the blue shells, that punish good players, kind of undermine the game play. They could have done more for the game. Even adding a decent amount of storyline would have helped it tremendously.

So, uh, about those dildos dipped in pure smug...

I find some of these comments hilarious. Basically anybody in this thread who has labelled something as "casual" in a derogatory way and/or has some kind of arbitrary, internal criteria for "hardcore" games or gamers is the sort of person Jim is talking about.

Ok Jim.

Your right on the bullshit of casual vs hardcore. However the problem is that your attributing that same argument to infinity blade, which regardless of what people will voluntarily say, People dont criticize infinity blade for being casual or lacking depth, the criticism is because its a product for an apple platform. Which by platform based birthright automatically deems it worthy of being criticized much as any product, first or third party that is exclusive to apple is deserving of.

Had Infinity blade been released on a platform that wasnt based on gouging a healthy mix of the rich and the retarded you simply would not hear these arguments. But because it is, It is. So perhaps the problem at least in this instance is not so much hardcore hypocrisy as much as it is getting your panties in a bunch over someone indirectly saying something negative against a platform you support.

So the argument while not loosing all of it, does loose a tad bit of validity when part of the argument is essentially just a defense of a gaming platform that is neither needed or even wanted. Remove support for apple from the equation, and I agree. Otherwise it just sounds like another apple fanboy cheering about how their gimped OS is awesome and totally not slick marketing, smoke and mirrors.

I loved the opening, the end line, and the part with the mario kart fan. That made me lol.
Usually I dislike when you do these kind of episodes, being very condescending and generalising. Not every gamer is the average internet moron, and especially on the Escapist there's a smaller percentage than at most places. But this time it was different, because even if it's something that should be obvious I see this kind of hypocrisy every day.
I think the Escapist podcast said it better, though this was a much needed more aggressive approach.

Also speaking of IOS, anybody ever played Game Dev Story? Best $2 I ever spent. We need more of these type of games.

I have, got it yesterday at 6 or 7 PM and then played till 3 AM...

O.O So addicting, and so fun! It actually gives a lot of tension when developing a game. Not getting enough points, a black out or a bug that made you have to go to a back up.

Well COD is the sort of thing that can be recycled. It's a standard of games, while Mario Kart isn't meant to be repackaged at all.

I thought Hardcore gamers were determined by how many and how often they play games but not what games they play...Nevertheless, the most "simple" games can be the hardiest to play.

Your definition of "causal" or "hardcore" can easily be determined by the style of play rather than the game itself so I wouldn't be too quick to judge others for being causal/hardcore gamers.

Just because you're first, you're getting quoted as a starting point for the casual/hardcore debate. Also; you're right. Kinda.

Guy Jackson:
I don't think I've never known a term to be so confusing to people as "casual gamer", and I'm a fair bit older than most escapists. The term has been thrown around on gaming sites for years and I still can't find two people who agree on what it means. Even the infamously variable meaning of "RPG" tends to be better defined, and better understood, than "casual gamer".

And you're getting quoted because I'm going to see if I can create a better definition of "casual" and "hardcore" than the nonsensical definitions thrown around.

Let's start with the most relevant wiktionary definitions:
Hardcore: Having an extreme dedication to a certain activity
Casual: 1) Informal, relaxed; 2) Coming without regularity; occasional or incidental

Instantly we see that a game cannot be "casual" or "hardcore", only the people playing said game. A hardcore gamer is just someone who plays a lot of games, either different games or the same game. A casual gamer is someone who doesn't have a rigid (time) structure to their gaming (one who plays games when it suits them), and doesn't play by any rules other than those present in the game. Notice how there is overlap here! You can play a lot of games when it suits you, without the formality associated with external meta-rules. What do I mean by this? Well:

The antonym of "casual gamer" would entail someone who plays regularly and formally, and the best word to describe these people would be "amateur gamers" or "professional gamers" (depending on if they are paid or not). These people play by strict out-of-game rulesets (the formal aspect), and play with and against other players on a regular basis. Per definition, these people would be "hardcore gamers" because of their dedication, but hardcore gamers are not necessarily not casual gamers.

So in conclusion, we have a new separation:
On the x-axis:
· Casual (plays without external rules)
· Amateur (plays with external rules: tournaments and the like)
· Professional (same as amateur, but gets a regular paycheck)

And on the y-axis:
· Hardcore (one with extreme dedication to the medium)
· [we_need_a_name_for_this] (one with little/no dedication to the medium; those who only play at parties, might occasionally play some games on their phone, etc)

Of course there's confusion when you try to separate people/games into two groups that aren't opposites! The vast majority of gamers are casual gamers, and there's nothing wrong with that. And the vast majority of people on this forum are hardcore gamers, and there's nothing wrong with that either.

PS: RPG: any game where the player takes on the role of an imaginary (and customizable (this is the subset that most people refer to when they say RPG)) character.

Does anyone actually consider themselves a hardcore, or casual gamer?
Seems a bit two dimensional and restrictive...

Agreed, I game in different levels depending on the games.
I play shitty hack n slash games, alongside quality shooters, for a quick thrill and to kill shit.
I play Dialogue and sandbox games for long-lasting experiences and freedom.
I play RPG's for the build-up of training and to watch the conversion of my scrawny farm boy turn into the Champion of Mankind.
I am a gamer, and like talking to those who are alongside me, whether in obsession or in small ways.
Personally I see casual gamers in a better light then some of the "hardcore" gamers, not because i dislike my hardcore buddies, but because if casual gaming doesn't grow, people won't be open to the idea of video-games, and we'll be back to where we started, now won't we?

Jim is creating a strawman here by arguing against two conflicting definitions of the term "casual" that won't be used by single person and then yell hyprocrisy anyway.

The term casual game, may have been used by some to mean a simple game, but to most it means easy.
Ninja Gaiden may be simple, compared to a RTS or RPG, for example, but very few would consider it casual, because the game is hard to beat. There is no hypocrisy here.

Now if that same person won't call a classic nintendo-hard game a "hardcore game", would that make it hypocritical?
Not if hardcore vs casual isn't a binary choice. Not everyone holds the definition that hardcore would be "non-casual".

Hardcore game: the game has a learning curve that takes skill and practice to master; a challenge posed by the computer or other players that forces you to continue to improve on your understanding of the game; punishes failure and rewards higher skill.
Good examples: SC, WC3, COH.

So if the game is very hard, but only tests your reflexes and muscle memory, perhaps that game is just "hard"; not casual, not hardcore.

Casual game then is a useful term, for labeling easy games, the gamer who wants a challenge doesn't need to bother with.


Otaku World Order:
So... Call of Duty is casual and Mario Kart is hardcore? Did I wake up in the Bizarro universe or something?

Try playing Double Dash with 4 players going through the final stretch, both racers perfectly in tune with their partners, neck and neck down to the last moment with a blue shell bearing down on you and tell me Mario Kart isn't hard core. I have lost blood over that game.

Oh man, back in the day, my sis and I had a zen-like connection that lead to the doom of many self-proclaimed "pros" at Double Dash. For most levels, I drove, she killed.

Don't be fooled by the cutesy colors: Double Dash can be every bit as cutthroat competitive as any shooter.

I like it. I like it a lot!

I think this vid was a version, which much broader appeal, of what you were trying to say in the Kirby episode. That is, that a simple game need not be shitty or so easy as to not be worth it. And you did it with jokes, references to great games from the past that embody this principle but are not referred to as 'casual', and with the all-important reminder to hardcore gamers that they are not special. They are not cyber-warrior-monks. They're just the same video game enthusiasts as those who play casual games but with different tastes.

I'm a jaded gamer: It's not that fun to me...at all if the game isn't breaking ground in story telling and/or gameplay like Shadow of the Colossus or Persona 4 in some original way. Everything else and every game that fails to reach said standards are all the same level to me. ^_^

On a completely different subject than the current discussion, what was the game appearing at 1:30? It's the Black and green one that looked as if it could be on the Game Boy.

(Not a troll bait question or anything. I'm being serious :o )

And I always thought when first hearing the term hardcore gaming, mean the opposite to casual Wii games, 'ah they are talking about complicated thongs like flights sims with 100 page manuals, etc'. But no it was just owners of the other two consoles trying to differentiate themselves from Wii and mobile play by calling themselves hardcore for playing that those on the PC consider not very hardcore at all. I myself am quite happy playing a complicated game which makes your brain hurt or something simple on my preferred PC and had always thought it was all just gaming.

The point is this whole hardcore thing was doomed to fail from the start as the definition was always stupid, though up by people trying to backlash against all though new people brought into gaming by the Wii and mobile devices. A better definition might have been casual and AAA game players. Like arthouse or mainstream movies fans in cinema.

Those calling themselves 'hardcore' gamers aren't, they are just non welcoming douches....

Yeah, I agree that depth isn't everything in the game, but it can be nice, y'know. Just like any other main feature, you'd add it if you could add it well, but you wouldn't sacrifice or botch parts of the game to add it.

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