- BioWare MMO designer Damion Schubert (who had the highest-rated GDC talk this year, actually) has posted at his Zen Of Design blog discussing the question of what a ‘hardcore’ gamer is vs. a casual gamer, and has some very nuanced and smart opinions.

For starters, he points out: "All successful games and genres have hardcore players and casual players", explaining: "My mom is a hardcore solitaire player. I mean, she looks at a screen with Spider on it the way that Cypher looked at the Matrix and saw blondes, brunettes and redheads. Mom just sees things I never saw as there. She has an innate sense of opportunity. When she plays, cards light up for her as if she were the main character in A Beautiful Mind. She’s damn close to being able to move the cards telepathically." Yay.

He also noteds quite correctly: "Thinking about games being just ‘casual’ holds us back", continuing: "Why? Simple - because those of us in the industry look at the Sims from the eyes of a ‘casual’ player, and as an end result, we don’t see or appreciate the depth or subtlety that is in the Sims, that appeals to the Hardcore Sims player (and by extension, why we call Will Wright a genius). If you aren’t a hardcore fan of the genre you’re building for as a designer, it’s easy to make a shallow game that fails to satisfy the hardcore fans of that genre. If you start off by saying ‘this is for a casual market’, you’re doomed before you begin." Good to see some thoughts on ways that gaming tastes can be universal.