Against the casuals.

Role-playing survival game is willing to take risks

So last night in a moment of sheer boredom because I couldn’t find a Left 4 Dead server I did the unthinkable, I downloaded Peggle for the first time. This was the mythical casual game that I’ve heard some people relate it to crack, the ultimate casual game that made Pop Cap rich. I played it for exactly 10 minutes then un installed it never to be seen on my computer again. Now I could just rant about how much it sucks but I find it interesting to explain why I didn’t like it.

There is a difference between being easy to learn and difficult to master and just being simple. In the former the easy game play is just the foundation for players who want to master the game to build on. However in the latter there is nothing else there, sure you can dress it up with some flashy lights but the game play will never grow beyond what is shown in stage 1-1. There is no true control in Peggle, once you shoot the ball it is out of your hands. I felt like I was just going through the motions and finally at stage 1-5 I decided to walk away. Now granted that there is an expert mode but unless it lets me shoot multiple balls at once or has some kind of obstacle to avoid then it is just more of the same. This is really the main crux when it comes to casual games.

So far every casual game I’ve played is a one trick pony, now that doesn’t mean its good or bad but unless you’re wowed by the first level then the game is not for you, which is the case for me with Peggle. A few days ago a family member caught me playing World of Goo and said how I like to play the simplest games. Here is the main difference between a game like World of Goo and a game like Peggle. Both have simple mechanics however World of Goo builds on top of that, each world requires a different type of thinking to succeed. Games like Peggle plateau in terms of complexity after the first level. Being able to create a game that looks simple at first glance but really isn’t is a great trait of a game designer.

Before I end it I want to say that my thoughts on Peggle are completely my opinion and should no way interfere with someone else’s thoughts. I have enjoyed casual games in the past such as Wyx and the Fable of Souls; however Peggle is not for me.