The casual gamer is becoming a major factor in the videogame industry. The makers of Farmville are worth more than EA. Popcap games are invading consoles, from Peggle to Plants vs. Zombies. Atari's latest game, The Undergarden, is vigorously promoted as a "casual, Zen-like" experience, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to the Farmville loving social gamer.
Plants Vs. Zombies was a casual game smash last year, and saw releases on PC and iDevices. As a tower defense fan, I picked the game up off Steam and really had a good time with it. A simplified tower defense formula coupled with a whole bucketload of humor and charming graphics made for a great combination. Next month, Xbox 360 gamers will be able to enjoy Plants Vs. Zombies for the first time, and best of all, there's a brand new co-op mode! Two players will be able to select their own seeds to plant, and by working together, they can defend one lawn from the undead invaders, all at the same time. Player 2 can drop in and out of the adventure mode at any time. The zombie killin' action begins on September 8, for $15.
Some of the worst games you'll find are those shoved onto shelves to coincide with an overhyped movie release. Only a very few games really buck this trend, and it's a pleasant surprise that the Toy Story 3 video game is one of them.
I covered Wii Shooters a few weeks back for Co-Op Casual Friday. Nerf N-Strike was clearly the cream of the crop as far as I am concerned. I thought it was worth taking another look at it for a Co-Op Review. We'll take a look at each of the multiplayer modes in the game, separating the co-op cream from the rest.
Everyone appreciates the value of a good, reliable breakfast appliance. And of course, samurai are totally awesome, too; just go watch this sometime if you don't believe me. Putting Samurai and toasters together seeems brilliant, and when you add in the cool art style and, most importantly, co-op, you get a package that is hard to resist.
The new column has a name! It seems totally obvious in hindsight, but what better title could there be for a series dedicated to the casual gamer that happens on Fridays? Congratulations to Co-Optimus reader "roland", who won our "Name the New Co-Op Column" contest. He'll get a brand spanking new copy of casual-friendly title Rock Band 2 for the Xbox 360 and a set of the critically acclaimed Co-Optimus stickers! Read on to find our thoughts on a colorful, family friendly title for the Wii!
It was a bit difficult to pick the first game to cover for Co-Op Casual Friday. When I was writing the review for Mortimer Beckett, I thought perhaps that game would be appropriate. But it's too close to the date of the review, and I know you want new content. I even thought about Lips, which was a huge hit with non-gamers in my family. However, I really wanted to cover something for the Wii , the system that has earned the casual console crown this generation. I decided to save it for later, so for now, the Lips are sealed. (Ba domp BOMP!) I wanted something big, surprising, and still appealing to the kiddies as well. So, I chose one of the finest titles available for the Wii, Super Mario Galaxy.
Remember last week, when we discussed the rise of family gaming? Yeah, we were totally right. Word has just reached Co-Optimus HQ of a new website dedicated to family video game safety, with tons of resources for both parents and kids. Microsoft and Best Buy are the key partners behind the website, located at GetGameSmart.com. All sorts of information is available, including how to set up parental controls, a quiz, a blog with ideas from experts, and much more.
The Wii has quickly established itself as the domain of the casual gamer. Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of Spooky Manor fits in this niche perfectly. Is there a decent game here, or is is more of the same shovelware we all loathe? Would this be a good way to play co-op with your friends and family? Find out in our review!
Today, we begin a new series of articles here at Co-Optimus. You might have noticed that Co-Op Classics went to Fridays biweekly during the holiday news frenzy. It will keep that schedule, and now, we'll have a new column for you on the off-Fridays. This column will be dedicated to Family and Casual gaming. In true co-op fashion, we want your input into the name for the column! We'll even give you some swag, but more about that later...
Two separate though closely related types of gamers will be the focus of this column: the casual gamer and the young gamer. The rise of the casual gamer is fairly well documented at this point in video game history. Additionally, those of us who grew up during the early days of video gaming are having kids now, and it's only natural that we want to play with our kids. Co-op is a great fit for both of these types of players. Working together, and not as opponents, is more desirable in these situations. Playing Deathmatch in Halo 3 with your wife is not likely to keep her coming back. Similarly, no kid wants to get defeated by their parent over and over in Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Playing through these titles in co-op mode, though, will be more enjoyable, both for the hardcore gamer and the newbie.
Let's discuss what we mean by 'casual gamer'. To put it succinctly, we're talking about the Wii crowd. Those who own only a Wii, that is, not a Wii in addition to other systems. A grandma who plays PopCap games would be an example of a casual gamer, too. Maybe this person plays solitaire on their computer at work. They don't know what a FPS or RPG is. Puzzle games and party games are going to be very appealing to these people, due to their easy learning curve. The "training" genre of games for the Nintendo DS are appealing to this type of gamer, too. They may not play many different games, but they get a lot of use out of the ones they purchase.
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