"Casual" games is industry shorthand for puzzle and parlor games, from Bejeweled to chess. For years, these were considered fringe fare, secondary to blockbuster console titles - shooters, sports, and role playing games.
But then a funny thing happened - the Web. Sites like Yahoo Games, Pogo, and MSN Games became the default homepage for middle-aged and graying gamers. Casual game are accessible, addictive, and often free. So much fo the steretype of the pimply teenage boy in the basement. Grandpa could frag him anytime.
This week in Seattle, casual game makers are gathering at the annual Casual Connect conference. The big talk - the iPhone, which is quickly becoming a fave gaming device. Developers are said to be gushing over the iPhone's performance and delivery. Edge quotes one coder boasting, "we set out ot get a million users in a year, and we got a million users in ten days."
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.