Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The First Taste is Free

Casual game devs and distributors are learning (happily) that their market will in fact buy richer games than the typical match 3 and I Spy clones if given the opportunity. Aveyond and Fate, well-crafted and deep "lite" RPGs, are selling well for the big casual game portals.

Positioned correctly, could games like these -- and simpler ones yet -- be the gateway drug to draw players into World of Warcraft or other non-casual games? Runescape is a massive hit on Miniclip, after all. NCSoft packaged the character creator tool for City of Heroes as a separate app for the game's Korean release, before legal issues led to their pulling it down.

Here are a few "gateway games":

  • Warthog Launch - Okay, so Halo isn't really about launching warthogs inyo the air with well-placed explosives. But this casual minigame is good practice.

  • DevastationZone Troopers - Doesn't require a video card for pretty solid 3D graphics and shoot 'em up sci fi gameplay. Destructible earthworks, weapon upgrades, spinning alien robot saws. Whee!

  • WoW Connect - Matching game using the skill icon graphics for World of Warcraft. Doesn't do much to introduce players to WoW proper, but it is enticing to see all the nifty button art for the various classes.

  • Murloc RPG - This, I love. The gamemaker cleverly (and, erm, illegally?) took assets from World of Warcraft to make a super-lightweight RPG. You go on quests, slay beasts, level up, shop for equipment, and specialize in skills. Looks and sounds great (of course). And best of all, you play as a murloc! Raaagggfflpfhh!

    Any other such games you particularly like? Casual games that could be considered feeders into deeper game experiences?
  • 1 comment:

    Shawn said...

    I just checked out Murloc. Thanks for the new addiction!

    You know anything about the open-source Ultima games? Are they worth checking out?