• Rules and goals must be clear.• Players need to be able to quickly reach proficiency.• Casual game play adapts to a player’s life and schedule.• Game concepts borrow familiar content and themes from life.
―…casual gaming began in 1990 whenMicrosoft started bundling Windows Solitairewith Windows.” Trefry, G (2010) Casual game design : designing play for the gamer in all of us, p.2
• So in many ways, casual game developers all live in the long shadow cast by a simple port of a card game programmed by Microsoft intern Wes Cherry in1989. Not only did it establish many of the tropes of casual play, it also served as a gateway drug for people who would never consider themselves gamers.• These players would never have dreamed of picking up an SNES controller in 1990 and working through a 40-hour game, but they would fiendishly play Solitaire, racking up hours of gameplay in small chunks throughout their day or week. Eventually, many Solitaire players moved on to Minesweeper and Freecell to Bejeweled and Diner Dash and eventually even to Wii Tennis and Guitar Hero, without ever consideringt hemselves gamers. ‖ Trefry, G (2010) Casual game design : designing play for the gamer in all of us, p.4
Females want experiences where they can make emotional andsocial discoveries that they can apply to their own lives.– Heidi Dangelmeier1. Emotion. Females like experiences that explore the richness ofhuman emotion. For males, emotion is an interesting componentof an experience, but seldom an end in itself. A somewhat crassbut telling example of this contrast can be found at the ends of the―romantic relationship media ‖ spectrum. At one end are romancenovels (one-third of all fiction books sold are romancenovels), which focus primarily on the emotional aspects ofromantic relationships, and are purchased almost exclusively bywomen. At the other end of the spectrum is pornography, whichfocuses primarily on the physical aspects of romanticrelationships, and is purchased almost exclusively by men.
2. Real World. Females tend to prefer entertainment that connects meaningfullyto the real world. If you watch young girls and young boys play, girls will morefrequently play games that are strongly connected to the real world (playing―house, ‖ pretending to be a veterinarian, playing dress up, etc.), whereas boyswill more frequently take on the role of fantasy characters. One of the all-timebest-selling computer game titles for girls was Barbie Fashion Designer, whichlets girls design, print, and sew custom clothes for their real-world Barbie dolls.Compare this to Barbie as Rapunzel, an adventure game in a fantasy setting.Although it featured the same character (Barbie), it did not have a real-worldcomponent, and was not nearly as popular.This trend continues through adulthood — when things are connected to the realworld in a meaningful way, women become more interested. Sometimes this isthrough the content (the Sims games, for example, have more female players thanmale, and their content is a simulation of the day-to-day life of ordinary people),and sometimes it is through the social aspects of the games. Playing with virtualplayers is ―just pretend, ‖ but playing with real players can build real relationships.
3. Nurturing. Females enjoy nurturing. Girls enjoy taking care of baby dolls, toypets, and children younger than themselves. It is not uncommon to see girls sacrificea winning position in a competitive game to help a weaker player, partlybecause the relationships and feelings of the players are more important thanthe game, but partly out of the joy of nurturing. In the development of ToontownOnline, a ―healing‖ game mechanic was required for the combat system. Weobserved that healing other players was very appealing to girls and women wediscussed the game with, and it was important to us that this game work equallywell for males and females, so we made a bold decision. In most role-playinggames, players mostly heal themselves, but have the option of healing others. InToontown, you cannot heal yourself — only others. This increases the value of aplayer with healing skill and encourages nurturing play. A player who wants tocan make healing their primary activity in Toontown.
4. Dialogue and Verbal Puzzles. It is often said that what females lack in spatialskills they make up for in increased verbal skills. Women purchase many morebooks than men do, and the audience for crossword puzzles is mostly female.Very few modern video games do much very interesting or meaningful withdialogue or verbal puzzles at this point in time, and this may be an untappedopportunity.5. Learning by Example. Just as males tend to eschew instructions, favouring atrial and-error approach, females tend to prefer learning by example. Theyhave a strong appreciation for clear tutorials that lead you carefully, step-by-step, so that when it is time to attempt a task, the player knows what she issupposed to do. "The Art of Game Design" Schell, J (2008) P.104
“If you are a woman and you don’t understand men, chances are you are thinkingtoo hard.”– Louis Ramey1. Mastery. Males enjoy mastering things. It doesn’t have to be something importantor useful — it only has to be challenging. Females tend to be more interestedin mastery when it has a meaningful purpose.2. Competition. Males really enjoy competing against others to prove that they arethe best. For females, the bad feelings that can come from losing the game (orcausing another player to lose) often outweigh the positive feelings that comefrom winning.3. Destruction. Males like destroying things. A lot. Often, when young boys playwith blocks, the most exciting part for them is not the building, but knockingdown the tower once it is built. Videogames are a natural fit for this kind ofgameplay, allowing for virtual destruction of a magnitude far greater than wouldbe possible in the real world."The Art of Game Design" Schell, J (2008) P.103
4. Spatial Puzzles. Studies have shown that males generally have stronger skills ofspatial reasoning than females, and most people would agree that this matchesanecdotal evidence. Accordingly, puzzles that involve navigating 3D spaces areoften quite intriguing to males, while they can sometimes prove frustrating forfemales.5. Trial and Error. Women often joke that men hate reading directions, and thereis some truth to that. Males tend to have a preference for learning things throughtrial and error. In a sense, this makes it easy to design interfaces for them, sincethey actually sometimes prefer an interface that requires some experimentationto understand, which ties into the pleasure of mastery."The Art of Game Design" Schell, J (2008) P.103