Some thoughts on "core" and "casual"


CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
Originally posted to Facebook:

I think most people who play Facebook games are likely playing games to "kill time" while "core" gamers are seeking a more intense and focused experience.

It's a difference of depth and experience: "Casuals" likely only know shallow games like Angry Birds and Solitaire while "core" gamers are aware gaming has deeper experiences to offer: The thrill of winning a close Team Fortress 2 match on cp_dustbowl, the disturbing revelations of BioShock, and the rush when clearing Jamestown on Divine difficulty for the first time, to name a few.

Such experiences don't diminish or exclude the pleasures of simpler games like Peggle, Bejeweled, or Words with Friends; "core" gamers may actually be able to appreciate such games even more than "casual" gamers, both as an experience and as a "break" from more intense games.


Active Member
I think the "casual" you mention is more casual than you think, and I think the "casual" you're thinking of is more "core" than you think.

1) No one that I know plays Solitaire and considers themselves a "casual gamer."
2) Plenty of people play Facebook games who don't consider themselves gamers at all.

When I played WoW there were hundreds of casual guilds... hundreds of them. These are guilds just for people who wanted a place to talk to other people and a place where they could "park" their characters while they leveled them. These guilds didn't raid often and they didn't partake in organized PvP - both are hallmarks of casual players.

There are guilds like this in WoW, SWTOR, WAR, EQ2, FFXIV... you name it there are casual people playing it.

Elader Arkon

Helped Tek test a thing
I would tend to agree. Although it's not nearly so limited to 'shallow' (I think the better term would be 'pop culture games') games in order to be casual.
I would consider myself a casual player of EVE... which if there was ever a game dedicated solely to the 'core' gamer that would be it. (well that and Demon's/Dark souls, but I don't know anyone who ever picked those two up expecting them to be played in a 'casual' manner.)

Abba San

Legacy of Elijah [LoE] - Proud Grandfather
And I would stretch it in the other direction...beyond discussions about levels of casual. In Guild Wars I have characters I am just casual about - I can pop on for 15 - 30 minutes and accomplish some things just for fun. That is casual.

Other characters I'd say I am a core player - specific goals - take them out with a team of other players - doing difficult tasks - two to three hour missions - and I knoe their skill combinations pretty well. With those characters I am a core player.

But I have friends I'd consider hard-core players. They have several characters at that level - hours of time put in almost every week - if not every day - and their knowledge of the game is so comprehensive. That's hard-core.

Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
hours of time put in almost every week - if not every day - and their knowledge of the game is so comprehensive. That's hard-core.

Nail on the Head award!

(poor Abba San, that must hurt)

I think it's a lot about how much time you put into a game that makes you "core" or not. I used to play a LOT of WoW. Now I play a little each week. When I played a lot, I was the core of the core. Now I casually raid.

Now, some games, like most facebook games, only have so much depth to them, so spending more time playing them doesn't create much of a divide between casual and core. That said, you should see viglundr's Bejeweled Blitz scores. He's hard-core in a facebook puzzle game.


Christian Gamers Alliance Amazon Store Manager
Staff member
What if you like the core experience but life dictates that you dont allocate that amount of time?

Abba San

Legacy of Elijah [LoE] - Proud Grandfather
I'd say time is a key factor in moving from casual to core.

Although I am mostly core and hard-core in Guild Wars - for the past month my real life has limited me to casual play time - only enough time to mess around a bit.

It's kind of like Christians who claim to be or want to be core or hard-core Christians but can't seem to find the time for personal prayer and study or corporate worship. They are just fooling themselves - they are only fans and casual Christians at best.

Unlike your faith, there is nothing wrong with being a casual game player. But I'd not want to be playing games in a casual manner with my faith.


Tribe of Judah Membership Administrator
Then again what constitutes as a "deeper gaming experience"? I have friends that love beating each other's top scores on Angry Birds daily. Just because the game is easy to pick up and play doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed the same as hardcore games. As for them "killing time", I'm not sure I agree. When Farmville was gaining attention, people were throwing down money, sometimes thousands, just to improve their virtual property. They would invite their friends to play (to reap benefits of course) but the game became more of a social connection, possibly bringing people into gaming who weren't used to it. They get used to their character in the Sims app, their farm or city in the Ville series, and like knocking down pigs with a swipe of their finger. Just because it's casual doesn't mean it can't offer the same core experience we get. They just play less than we do.

A game's a game.

Abba San

Legacy of Elijah [LoE] - Proud Grandfather
I think you are right, Keero. When I think of casual, core and hard-core I am think about the person playing - not the game. There are hard-core domino players. I've played with them. "Casual" does not stand a chance against "hard-core." Not even in dominoes. Same for checkers, sudoku, word search. Name the game and there are probably hard-core players. It really doesn't have to do with the game - more the player.


CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
The thoughts I typed out were not meant to encompass the full range of players, but rather apply to an average of each designation ("core" or "casual"). I was thinking of the middle 80% of the bell curve; not the fringes. Thus the "most" in my opening sentence.

And perhaps I should have replaced "Solitaire" with "Solitaire Blitz" in my original post. :)

Also, keep in mind that I wrote my original post with Facebook games in mind when discussing "casual" games. I didn't intend to discuss games that tend to involve less rigid definitions of "casual" and "core."

I think about the only thing we can agree on is that there is no consensus when it comes to definitions of words like "casual," "core," and "gamer."


Officer SOE/LoE/Where's "here"?
How about a definition of a geezer "core" gamer? Or is that an oxymoron?