110: The Four Virtues of FreeCell

The Four Virtues of FreeCell

"A hardcore gamer stuck with FreeCell can fall in love. Casual games thrive because they rest on solid, approachable gameplay in a way million-dollar blockbusters don't. There's no reason why the lessons of casual games like FreeCell can't be applied to the games hardcore gamers play; there's no reason why casual gamers shouldn't be able to play "real" games, provided their developers take a closer look at what makes games fun."

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This read something like an article from Lost Garden. Which is to say I liked it.

The main obstacle, to me, seems to be reconciling complex modes of play with simple and/or intuitive modes of interaction. I'm not sure any game has pulled it off well enough to answer the most important question: is it the inaccessibility or merely the depth that scares the casuals away from the flashy, expensive subset of computer games? Obviously, it takes a certain kind of personality to take the time to learn how to play a first-person shooter where half the keyboard does something, but if you could somehow make that interface as intuitive as clicking and dragging a card in Freecell (and, of course, ensure that the game is not awful per the other criteria the author names), would it still reach that ideal casual gamer, or would they find the amount of things happening in the game as daunting as the interface?

Obviously it's a matter of degree, not kind - some will be more receptive to this and some won't - but there's not enough real data at the moment to draw any kind of conclusion.

Thirty straight is my record on freecell.

I agree about D&D, here i have a warrior. He's trained to the hilt, strong, skilled, yet does between 10-30 damage? Wouldn't he be a bit more consistent in his strikes after all that training? Imagine a samuri shooting an arrow into the heart of his enemy, something he has practiced for years, maybe decades, it doesn't make sense that it would only kill his target maybe half the time.

Freecell to me is a game of observation and patience. You have to see the best move to make, and not try to rush into winning quickly. Health doesn't regenerate in freecell, cards just get stuck and it adds up to a lost.


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