Let’s face it: the gaming market is slowly shifting towards the more casual player. It seemed especially clear at this year’s E3 as, while there were a decent amount of games made specifically for hardcore gamers, the focus shifted towards more accessible games like Just Dance and peripherals such as the Wonderbook. This trend also has been knocking at our backdoor for a while now, if Facebook games like Farmville are any indication. A more massive audience is willing to be tapped for money for simpler and simpler gameplay as long as the graphics are clean, and if there’s one thing companies like, it’s an open wallet. However, my webcrush this week is a more balanced view into the future of the gamer culture. Or, at least I hope so. It’s a site where the casual and the more hardcore collide via two forces of nature we can all relate to: parent and child.
BioWare According to Mom is a fabulous little tumblr which documents Reg’s, the tumblr runner’s, mom as she plays through Mass Effect 2. Reg’s mom is not what one would call a gamer right off the bat, but she is completely endearing by how much she gets into her game. After reading a couple posts, you’ll be introduced to the full cast, including Krogar (Grunt), Sith Judge Wizard (Samara), and Beans (Garrus), but more so than the characters, you yourself will become invested in Reg’s mom’s journey as she travels through space, picking off bad guys.
Reg, on the other hand, serves as a sort of “straight man” for the entire blog; the more hardcore side of the gamer coin. She runs the line between enjoying the twisted story of space justice her mother is creating and hoping, somewhere in the depths of her heart, that her mother will end up with a sufficient team for end-game.
The thing that I like about this tumblr is that it’s all about the experience of gaming, rather than the skill of gaming. Reg barely, if ever, talks about her mother’s gaming skill. Also, the humor isn’t in “wow, look at this stupid decision my mom made”, it’s over the silly things all gamers do when we play a game we get invested in. We make up nicknames for the characters. We decide who lives and dies by arbitrary reasons that, hey, sometimes may sound totally out there to others. Though this blog is mainly for humor, it’s such a beautiful collaboration between two types of gamers that are usually at each other’s throats. Gamers need to start following this model and instead of complaining that casual gamers are ruining the market, take it upon themselves to introduce their more casual friends to a series they may enjoy. Also, allow these friends to show them the perhaps more casual games they enjoy and don’t lambast them for it. We, as a gaming community, should be working towards a unity of sorts, rather than deepening the crevice between the two sectors.