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Humble Beginnings

But as I was sulking about my misspent childhood; the first inklings of change were taking shape.

For one thing - the MMORPG came along; enticing a lot of the hardcore (more outspoken) gamers by affording them a social and professional online existence. Complete immersion.

And while these virtual worlds still only accommodate a relatively small percentage of the games playing community, a line had finally been crossed: the world of Video Games no longer had to be an alternative reality.

That opened the door for a simple question: how many of us wanted to follow that idiom to its natural, all-consuming conclusion? The show of hands was sparse, and most of us took our first tentative steps toward a new approach: Casual Gaming.

The differences between Casual Games and Video Games ‘of old’ are subject to debate, but I would like to summarise them in the following ways:

Development: Good Casual Game design does not necessitate high production costs; meaning that avenues are opened for independent games designers. Separate graphics, animation, and sound departments are not prerequisite.

Interfacing: New methods of interacting and networking are now common-place; Nintendo’s remote control and touch screen designs are excellent proponents. Closer to home for independent developers - there’s also the mobile phone, and the increasing popularity of Browser-based games has seen a kind of ‘second coming’ for the mouse.

Inclusivity: Unlike most other types of game: the Casual variety are not obliged to offer forty plus hours of entertainment value. This means that otherwise sound game designs are not abandoned or unrecognizably adapted because they do not justify a price tag. This in turn means more game genres – starting more people out on the same learning curve.