By Jeff Berger
Have you ever found yourself killing a few minutes at the computer with a quick game of "Solitaire" or "Mine Sweeper"? Those were among the first casual games whose amazing success defined the genre.
Once you learn what makes a casual game tick, maybe you'll want to get a degree in computer game design and try creating your own.
The Attraction of Casual Games
Casual games have evolved considerably since the early days of "Tetris" and "Solitaire," and they now incorporate more appealing graphics and immersive game play.
Many casual games have gained a large following among both the avid gaming crowd and people who normally don't enjoy video games.
There are several key features that distinguish a casual game from a hardcore one:
- Casual games are very easy to play, suitable for all ages and easily accessible
- Casual games are played on almost every platform, from cell phones to the Wii console
- The most popular method of distribution is by downloading from the Internet
- Casual games don't require a large time commitment
- Casual games are often based on traditional games, such as cards, mahjongg and word games
Creating Casual Games
The casual games industry is still growing as demand increases, and distributors are constantly looking for the next major hit title. For anyone seriously looking for a career in video game design or development, a computer game design degree is essential.
Developing a casual game is similar to the process of developing any of the more hardcore computer games:
- The story and game play influence everything in the game, so once they are established the code can be written.
- The art, sound effects and music are designed to hook your audience to the game and bring your story to life.
- Depending on how complicated your game is, it can take at least six months to a year to complete on your own.
Once you earn your computer game design degree, you can choose between going into business for yourself and selling games directly to distributors, or joining a company and earning a salary. Make sure you don't have too much fun on the job.