Surpassing the Checklist

The connection between my casual game, Catan, and our class comes through our reading from Jesper Juul titled, “What is Casual”.  In the article, Juul attributes five elements that truly distinguish a casual game.  These five characteristics are as follows: the fiction, the usability, the interruptibility, the difficulty, and the juiciness of the game.  Catan not only checks off these elements of a casual game, but does so with flying colors.

The fiction of the game is a consumer’s first impression of the game; for example, the cover art of the game.  For my game Catan the cover of the app is the fiction and the fiction allows me to get a general feel for what the game is about and what the game has to offer.  The cover is a silhouette of a city with a setting sun descending behind it which can be inferred that the game is a building game in a vast landscape.

(This is the cover for the game)

The usability of Catan is very simplistic in regards to both the controls of the game as well as the concept.  The controls and commands are all laid out on a side menu.  From building roads and settlements to trading with other players, the commands encompass the screen.  Your finger is the controller so to preform the commands, a simple touch is all that is necessary for any and all actions.

(This is the menu where you can decide your next move)

The interruptibility of the game is a major advantage to casual games.  In Catan, you can turn the game off at any moment and the game will automatically save.  You do not have to physically pause the game before existing or click a “save” button.  This is perfect for the phone because you can pick it up and play it just as quick and easy as exiting the phone app.

The difficulty of Catan plays perfectly into your stereotypical casual gamer.  A casual gamer enjoys games that are challenging and makes them think, even if it is a minimal amount, but are not too difficult.  Catan is a difficult strategy game where you try to out think, or maneuver, the A.I or the other players.  The game makes you think strategy but is not a difficult game to comprehend and master.

The game does exhibit some elements to juiciness, or elements of the game that create a sense of positivity within the gamer.  Whenever you build a road, settlement, or a city, a noise is associated with it that does create a sense of accomplishment within the player.  Also, at the end of the game a big banner that says “CONGRATULATIONS”, much like how Peggle uses its juiciness with “EXTREME FEVER”.