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From outer space to your farm 
Understanding digital games
Level 1 
The beginning
Like many new technologies, 
digital gaming started as something 
out of this world.
1962 1971 1971 
Spacewar! 
1st gen digital game 
Computer space 
1st gen arcade game 
Magnavox odyssey 
1st gen home conso...
In 1972 the spaceship has landed 
In a local bar in Sunnyvale, California.
Atari 
Former publisher of pinball machines pivoted to 
be a developer and manufacturer of 
commercially successful arcade...
But what IS a game, really? 
A game has many definitions and structures. In its base it is a system of rules, 
objectives ...
Here’s one of my favorite definitions: 
“ A game is a series of meaningful choices” S. Meier
Why games are fun? 
We love... 
● Competition 
● Self improvement 
● Feeling of progression 
● Pattern recognition 
● Sens...
Sense of autonomy, AKA meaningful choices 
Are the heart of every game
What are the differences between the two?
● Skill based 
● Gives sense of autonomy 
● Multiplayer 
● Infinite variability 
● Community 
● Sometimes a skill game (de...
Game design principles for arcades 
● Super intuitive controls and objectives 
● Endless, race to highscore gameplay 
● Fa...
The game design IS the business model 
Insert coin 
Play (1-5 min 
approx.) 
Die Continue? 
Yes 
Get your initials on 
the...
Why “Continue?” is such an amazing selling point? 
Loss aversion. 
People hate losing stuff they already “own” the morse s...
The golden era of arcades 
1972-1985 
Space invaders 
1978 
Pac Man 
1980 
Street fighter II 
1991 
Donkey kong 
1980 
Ast...
Who plays arcade games? 
Back in the day the majority were young, competitive 
males. But there were attempts to reach the...
Pac-Man was designed with girls in mind 
● A game about an eating disorder, Pac-Man tries to avoid 
the ghosts who haunt h...
Pacman is the most profitable arcade of all times 
* A note to game designers: Girls MATTER!
Arcade traction started to decline in 1985 
As home entertainment consoles took over
Level 2 
Game design evolves
Home consoles 
NES 
3rd gen console that revived the dying US market 
Link to arcade commercial 
1985
In terms of game design, what are the differences between the two?
● Short gameplay 
● No save games 
● Highscore as main objective 
● Monetization based on small transactions 
● Long gamep...
Game design rule - the feedback loop 
Repeat 
Kill monsters Get treasure Buy weapons
Feedback loop AKA - the addiction loop 
Dopamine Love!
Game design rule - the feedback loop 
Dopamine strikes 
when anticipating to 
be rewarded 
Random sized loot 
(variable re...
Don’t you LOVE it when that happens? 
(But more on candy crush love later on…)
As games started to get bigger 
They appealed to what seems to be a niche gamer market 
Until….
Enter the PC. Not a gaming platform.. yet.
Genres evolve on PC
Casual games first introduced on PC 
1990 2001 2002 
Bejewled 
Downloaded over 150M times 
The sims 
Best selling PC game ...
O, and the internet... 
2009 2004 
Social game 
Biggest social game, more than 
11M DAU at peak. FTP 
MMORPG 
Most subscri...
It’s always a “non gaming” apparatus to expand the gaming circles to “non-gamers”
Actually, tablets brought in a new audience 
And now digi gamers officially span from toddlers to elders
Level 3 
But what are casual games anyway?
What do you see here?
We love spotting patterns. 
We also love to match things, sort things, put things in order.
Casual games take those daily brain activities 
And use them as the main game mechanic 
Match things Sort things Put thing...
This is why candies, fruits, gems and animals 
are so commonly used. They offer a natural “matching” system
Casual games controls also need to come naturally
Not Natural 
natural
And remember this? 
Repeat 
Kill monsters Get treasure Buy weapons
Casual games need a smaller, condensed feedback loop 
Identify pattern 
Decide on which 
to act 
act 
Watch reaction 
and ...
Game design rules for casual games 
● Use elements from real life (unlike space stuff) 
● Super intuitive gameplay 
● Desi...
Level 4 
Mobile and the free to play market
Shifting to mobile (2009) 
Fruit ninja 
New mechanics for touch 
screens 
Draw something 
First true mobile social success...
App Stores 2014 
Candy crush saga 
Top grossing, monetization 
machine 
Clash of clans 
Top grossing, dumbed down RTS 
gam...
Free to p(l)ay market 
If things are offered for free, why would anyone pay? Well...
Most do not pay. Others pay a little. 
And a small minority pays A LOT. We call them whales.
Free to play - fishing for whales 
● Game design emphasizes micro transactions 
● Game design heavily shaped by data 
● St...
Some say that free to play killed the gaming industry. 
I think it brought gaming to everyone.
From Arcade venues to our pocket, everybody is a gamer.
Gaming is… 
Everywhere 
“Everything in the future online is going 
to look like a multiplayer game” 
- Eric Schmidt, Googl...
This deck was brought to you by 
Dori Adar, Creative director at TabTale, gamer, talker, midnight toker. 
Doriadar@gmail.c...
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Understanding casual games

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I explain games and casual games throughout the digital games history

Publicada em: Design
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Understanding casual games

  1. 1. From outer space to your farm Understanding digital games
  2. 2. Level 1 The beginning
  3. 3. Like many new technologies, digital gaming started as something out of this world.
  4. 4. 1962 1971 1971 Spacewar! 1st gen digital game Computer space 1st gen arcade game Magnavox odyssey 1st gen home console The first digital games
  5. 5. In 1972 the spaceship has landed In a local bar in Sunnyvale, California.
  6. 6. Atari Former publisher of pinball machines pivoted to be a developer and manufacturer of commercially successful arcade games.
  7. 7. But what IS a game, really? A game has many definitions and structures. In its base it is a system of rules, objectives and a tangible outcome.
  8. 8. Here’s one of my favorite definitions: “ A game is a series of meaningful choices” S. Meier
  9. 9. Why games are fun? We love... ● Competition ● Self improvement ● Feeling of progression ● Pattern recognition ● Sense of autonomy ● Story/mystery ● Reward system (random/linear) ● Positive reinforcements ● Flow - Immersion ● Social interaction ● To feel smart ● What else?
  10. 10. Sense of autonomy, AKA meaningful choices Are the heart of every game
  11. 11. What are the differences between the two?
  12. 12. ● Skill based ● Gives sense of autonomy ● Multiplayer ● Infinite variability ● Community ● Sometimes a skill game (depends on the machine) ● Less sense of autonomy ● Single player ● Finite variabilty
  13. 13. Game design principles for arcades ● Super intuitive controls and objectives ● Endless, race to highscore gameplay ● Fairly hard ● Skill based games
  14. 14. The game design IS the business model Insert coin Play (1-5 min approx.) Die Continue? Yes Get your initials on the leaderboard. (if you were awesome) Next player No
  15. 15. Why “Continue?” is such an amazing selling point? Loss aversion. People hate losing stuff they already “own” the morse so when invested time and emotion into.
  16. 16. The golden era of arcades 1972-1985 Space invaders 1978 Pac Man 1980 Street fighter II 1991 Donkey kong 1980 Asteroids 1981 10,000,000,000+ 8,000,000,000+ 6,500,000,000+ 1,120,000,000+ 500,000,000+ Link to arcade commercial
  17. 17. Who plays arcade games? Back in the day the majority were young, competitive males. But there were attempts to reach the other gender as well..
  18. 18. Pac-Man was designed with girls in mind ● A game about an eating disorder, Pac-Man tries to avoid the ghosts who haunt him for it. ● No shootings/killings involved. ● The settings (maze) appeals to both genders. ● This is actually a CASUAL game.
  19. 19. Pacman is the most profitable arcade of all times * A note to game designers: Girls MATTER!
  20. 20. Arcade traction started to decline in 1985 As home entertainment consoles took over
  21. 21. Level 2 Game design evolves
  22. 22. Home consoles NES 3rd gen console that revived the dying US market Link to arcade commercial 1985
  23. 23. In terms of game design, what are the differences between the two?
  24. 24. ● Short gameplay ● No save games ● Highscore as main objective ● Monetization based on small transactions ● Long gameplay ● Save game feature ● Many different objectives ● Monetization based on one big transaction
  25. 25. Game design rule - the feedback loop Repeat Kill monsters Get treasure Buy weapons
  26. 26. Feedback loop AKA - the addiction loop Dopamine Love!
  27. 27. Game design rule - the feedback loop Dopamine strikes when anticipating to be rewarded Random sized loot (variable reward) - causes addiction
  28. 28. Don’t you LOVE it when that happens? (But more on candy crush love later on…)
  29. 29. As games started to get bigger They appealed to what seems to be a niche gamer market Until….
  30. 30. Enter the PC. Not a gaming platform.. yet.
  31. 31. Genres evolve on PC
  32. 32. Casual games first introduced on PC 1990 2001 2002 Bejewled Downloaded over 150M times The sims Best selling PC game in all times Solitaire The most popular PC game
  33. 33. O, and the internet... 2009 2004 Social game Biggest social game, more than 11M DAU at peak. FTP MMORPG Most subscribed game with 7M paying customers.
  34. 34. It’s always a “non gaming” apparatus to expand the gaming circles to “non-gamers”
  35. 35. Actually, tablets brought in a new audience And now digi gamers officially span from toddlers to elders
  36. 36. Level 3 But what are casual games anyway?
  37. 37. What do you see here?
  38. 38. We love spotting patterns. We also love to match things, sort things, put things in order.
  39. 39. Casual games take those daily brain activities And use them as the main game mechanic Match things Sort things Put things in order
  40. 40. This is why candies, fruits, gems and animals are so commonly used. They offer a natural “matching” system
  41. 41. Casual games controls also need to come naturally
  42. 42. Not Natural natural
  43. 43. And remember this? Repeat Kill monsters Get treasure Buy weapons
  44. 44. Casual games need a smaller, condensed feedback loop Identify pattern Decide on which to act act Watch reaction and get reward
  45. 45. Game design rules for casual games ● Use elements from real life (unlike space stuff) ● Super intuitive gameplay ● Design for small bursts of play ● Designed for totally different play environments ● Condensed feedback loop
  46. 46. Level 4 Mobile and the free to play market
  47. 47. Shifting to mobile (2009) Fruit ninja New mechanics for touch screens Draw something First true mobile social success Angry birds Bringing puzzles to the people!
  48. 48. App Stores 2014 Candy crush saga Top grossing, monetization machine Clash of clans Top grossing, dumbed down RTS game Flappy bird The app store phenomena of 2014
  49. 49. Free to p(l)ay market If things are offered for free, why would anyone pay? Well...
  50. 50. Most do not pay. Others pay a little. And a small minority pays A LOT. We call them whales.
  51. 51. Free to play - fishing for whales ● Game design emphasizes micro transactions ● Game design heavily shaped by data ● Strong use of “loss aversion” ● strong use of impulsive buy (usually to rush processes up) ● Finding the exact amount of player frustration
  52. 52. Some say that free to play killed the gaming industry. I think it brought gaming to everyone.
  53. 53. From Arcade venues to our pocket, everybody is a gamer.
  54. 54. Gaming is… Everywhere “Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game” - Eric Schmidt, Google chairman Donkey kong commercial Xbox 1 commercial
  55. 55. This deck was brought to you by Dori Adar, Creative director at TabTale, gamer, talker, midnight toker. Doriadar@gmail.com

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