Monday, March 21, 2011

Portable gaming = casual gaming

Let's face it - if you ask people what their favorite casual game they like to play is, most will answer some Facebook game. It's simple, it's fast, and it's only a separate window or tab away from instant 5-minute bursts of gameplay. But what about the other times when you're not smack-dab in front of a computer or laptop? Then you turn to a portable device.

Whether it's a DS, PSP, or even just the iPhone, portable gaming has been engrossing us for some time. And what better way to kill a few minutes on the go than just messing around in some mindless gameplay? But today, I'm not talking about the simple games that you can get away with for minutes at a time - I'm talking about whittling down full games.

You are either a gamer that can sit down for hours and play one game straight, or someone like me, who can only afford to play a game every few minutes. And what you can do in those few minutes, depending on the game, can be limiting. But it seems that many games (whether directly or indirectly) realize this, and portion their game to smaller, bite-sized pieces. They know that portable gamers will have to take out their system, boot/wake it up, get comfortable, and be patient long enough to sit through the intro to play a few minutes more of their games. Please note this - the longer you make gamers wait for the game to load, the higher the chance they'll just turn off the game completely.

Since my time is so scarce, there's only a couple of games I'm currently playing that can optimize what little time I have.

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

I continue to play Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on the DS, spurred only by the thought that the game is canon to the story. Unlike the larger-scale games on the PS2, this DS addition is portioned out in a series of missions that I can choose whatever order to tackle them with. Most of the game has you in a central hub talking to other NPC characters and such, and the other half is embarking on missions that can be as short as 2 minutes - perfect for a quick break. It's these little bites at a time that I'm progressively making progress in the game in hope that I'll finish it soon so I can start up Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.

Pokemon White

Pokemon is one of those games that cater to both hardcore and casual gamers. Hardcore players can (and will) sit for hours leveling up their pokemon to ridiculous levels and clear the game in a solid week. Casual gamers, like myself, will probably take the minutes that we have and engage in the short random battles you encounter in the wild, which can last seconds. So, in 5 minutes worth of time, you can polish off good 20 battles if you're powerful enough.
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