So, what exactly is it that hardcore gamers want?
There have been little blips going around the message boards, the media, and the industry in general about the new thought that due to "casual gamers" and the unexpected wild-card influence and success of the Wii, that maybe "hardcore" gamers are going to find themselves left out in the cold somehow.
Granted, our society and the media seems to thrive on fear as a way of selling stories end of capturing the headlines, and in this particular case I suppose it's fear that "good games" or something vaguely indefinable like that will suddenly be tossed by the wayside in the hunt for an expanding casual gamer market.
There are a lot of sides to this issue and I'm sort of thinking out loud here, but the first thing that struck me when presented with this idea is… so what is it that hardcore gamers want? What games qualify as hardcore and which don't? Does there even need to be a distinction?
I don't know that I'd call myself a hardcore, but I certainly must be close. Without having defined criteria to work from, I'm going to use myself as a general template and in doing so, I really don't see any lack of available gaming experiences to be had or any danger whatsoever of a person like myself being cast aside in favor of pleasing some hot, new demographic that may or may not be there.
Taking a look at my shelf, I've got literally 39 games that I haven't even touched yet and my GameFly queue has 48 titles waiting to be shipped out to me. Every Wednesday there are usually at least two or three new titles that hit retail to glance at, and things are only going to heat up this holiday season. Without exaggerating the case, I literally don't have enough time to play all the games I'd like to and there seems to be no end in sight.
Without getting into the argument of whether or not the Wii is a gimmick or a revolution, I can only see its sudden popularity and welcoming approach as a good thing. More people playing games (whether they're hardcore, casual, or anything in between) can only be good for the industry as a whole. No one game satisfies all people, and with ever larger audiences, developers will be tasked with creating more and more kinds of diverse content to satisfy every niche. The range of software is only going to grow, and I'd be willing to bet any amount of money that a certain percentage of the "casual" market will slowly but surely find themselves migrating over to the "hardcore" side of the spectrum just as some of the newcomers will discover that maybe games aren't their thing before drifting off to the next fad.
Although it's true that certain genres rise and fall in popularity, that's a natural, cyclical thing and totally different than this new wave of chicken little-ism bemoaning the imminent death of hardcore gaming thanks to an influx of new interest in the hobby.
…To quote a regular poster in our forums; gamer, please.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:
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