Friday, August 15, 2008

Frugal Fun - Casual Games

If you haven't heard of casual games yet, than your missing out. According to Wikipedia:

A casual game is a video game targeted at a mass audience of casual gamers. Casual games can have any type of gameplay, and fit in any genre. They are typically distinguished by their simple rules, in contrast to more complex hardcore games.[1][2] Casual games typically are played on a personal computer online in web browsers, although they now are starting to become popular on game consoles, too. Casual gaming demographics also vary greatly from those of traditional computer games, as the typical casual gamer is older [3] and more predominantly female,[4] with over 74% of those purchasing casual games being women.[5] They require no long-term time commitment or special skills to play, and there are comparatively low production and distribution costs for the producer.

Most casual games have similar basic features:
  • Extremely simple gameplay, like a puzzle game that can be played entirely using a one-button mouse or cellphone keypad
  • Allowing gameplay in short bursts, during work breaks or, in the case of portable and cell phone games, on public transportation
  • The ability to quickly reach a final stage[6], or continuous play with no need to save the game
  • 2D, abstract graphics
  • Some variant on a "try before you buy" business model or an advertising-based model

I particularly like to play a casual game in-between studying for about 15-20 minutes. Typically casual games cost around $20 a pop, however it is becoming more and more common for sites to allow full games of either popular or old games to be played for free, providing you don't mind watching a short (usually 30 seconds) ad, although the frequency depends on the site from which you downloaded.

Most sites that offer these "unlimited trials" are completely spy-ware and ad-ware free, however there is one site that I caution you to stay away from, and that is Iwin. There have been reports that Iwin's game manager does have some malicious content(in fact, my boyfriend's laptop is in the repair shop after I downloaded a game from that site, oopsies) plus, the frequency of the ads on their unlimited games is pretty annoying.

Here are some of my recommendations to get you started:

Time Management/Action/Arcade
Hidden Object/Puzzle
Remember they are casual games, but easy to get addicted to so keep a watch or a timer on you so you don't lose track of real life.I'm not much of a match 3 or similar type gamer, but if you are and you want me to add some games to the list please drop a comment and I will add them.

Here are the websites with the free with ads games: Most Fun GameHouse Yahoo

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