"Casual" is a word used to describe games that appeal to players who do not think of themselves as heavy consumers of video games. Games that are easy to learn, with "addictive" gameplay that supports short sessions of play are often described as casual. Examples include puzzle games like Tetris or computer solitaire, party games like Rock Band or Wii Sports and social games like Farmville.
Comparison to other game genres
Casual games are often held up against "hardcore" or "core" games that appeal to players who consider gaming a hobby. These games tend to be more complex and are more likely to feature embedded narratives, as well as violent or niche content that may not appeal to more mainstream audiences. Examples include first-person shooters, role-playing games and real-time strategy games.
Controversy over the term
The hardcore/casual divide is not universally recognized, and is difficult to define clearly. Some games, such as the Super Mario Bros. series, display many of the hallmarks of both casual and hardcore games, while many players of casual games spend as much time gaming as so-called hardcore gamers. The distinction between simple games and complex games covers much of the same territory, and may prove more useful for educators.