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10 Ways To Make a Bad Casual Game

Tom Hume has published his notes and commentary on a presentation given by Jason Kapalka of Popcap Games at Casuality Europe, a conference for casual game developers, publishers and distributors. “10 ways to make a bad casual game” is a list of things developers should think about when creating a new game.

One item I found interesting: “Use the right mouse button. No-one playing casual games will ever use the right mouse-button.” I suspect that this holds true for the majority of casual arcade games, but it is certainly not the case for games such as Pretty Good Solitaire and Solitaire Plus!, which make extensive use of the right mouse button, and in some ways are the very epitome of a casual game.

Another item I’d take issue with is “Price it weirdly. Self-distribute. Sign any deal you can.“, specifically the “self-distribute” part. The way a game is distributed may have something to do with the financial success of a game, but it has absolutely nothing to do with whether it is a good or bad game. Pretty Good Solitaire is a perfect example of that – it’s always been self-distributed, but is widely acknowledged to be the best and most popular game of its kind.

Still, the list should be required reading for any new developer. While all of its points don’t apply to all casual games, the majority of them are valid for most games.


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