While researching my second contextual studies essay, I checked out some of the DICE 2013 video presentations that talked about an apparent new market in the games industry: mid-core gamers. The DICE 2013 presentation talked about a few topics that I found interesting:
> The call for more story in video games to be written by writers from the creator of Heavy Rain;
David Cage's DICE 2013 Keynote "The Peter Pan Syndrome: The Industry that Refused To Grow Up"
> Choice in video games from the creator of Borderlands;
Randy Pitchford's DICE 2013 Keynote "Video Games Are Magic"
> The mid-core idea, and games about human interaction not player empowerment from Epic Mickey's Warren Spector;
Warren Spector's DICE 2013 Keynote "Hey, You Kids! Get Outta My Yard! or The Graying of Gaming"
> The future of RPGs from Ray Muzyka;
Ray Muzyka's DICE 2013 Keynote "A Conversation About The Future of The RPG Genre"
> A look at episodic gaming and character driven narrative from the creator of The Walking Dead game;
Dan Connors' DICE 2013 "Episodic Gaming: How Telltale's Episodic Model Is Changing The Way People Play"
The overall point of these DICE 2013 presentations is to put focus on making engaging story telling in games with interactive narratives and choice. They talk about games that focus on telling interactive stories based around things that affect people, and based around how people interact on more realistic level. How peoples' actions and choices are reflected on by NPCs and having player actions determine narrative. These multiple choices add to a game's re-playability.
It forms the basis for this idea of "mid-core gaming." Games that focus on story telling and character interaction that is easy to pick up and play for the casual gamer and allow them to enjoy the experience, but have a depth that hardcore gamers can get into. A game that can be comfortably played and completed within a short period of time, but provides additional rewards for players who seek out additional content within the game.
Personally, I love the idea of character interaction within games, making choices, and seeing how my choices affect the narrative. That's not to say I don't enjoy the more fantastical aspects of gaming. I love having a deep game full of interesting characters and choices, but I don't think these elements should be limited to "mature" games. I think having character interaction in games is perfectly possible in games aimed for children, providing those characters are interesting and engaging enough.
Since the DICE keynotes, other opinions of the idea of "mid-core" have cropped up. Kevin Glimer's article on Gamasutra makes an interesting counterpoint. He basically goes on to say that the idea of casual, mid-core and hardcore is flawed, and that people jump back and forth between these demographics within a single day. That the type of game a person plays depends as much on location and time restraints as personal preference.
Having looked into this idea of character driven narrative and character interaction forming the basis of this idea of mid-core gaming, as I design characters, I should look into character interaction. Overall, I thought these were interesting points to look into.