The Escapist has some interesting articles in their issue this week, and one in particular caught my eye, “The Gamer Within”.

The author was trying to get his casual-gamer wife to turn hardcore, and decided to give her a one-hour “test drive” in three games. So first he tried World Of Warcraft. That wouldn’t have been my first choice, personally. The results were what you might expect, and funny, too.

Then he tried Half-Life 2. That didn’t work out too well, either. But it was a remark she made while playing that gave me pause for thought:

“You know, the thing is, if I want to see something die I’ll just turn on CNN. Playing a game, to me, is about forgetting all that.”

That is something to think about. First, because it’s awful to consider you can turn on the TV to see real death.

The second is, that may well be the key to the casual game market. Where the hardcore crowd, typically young male and aggressive, indulge in shooting, driving and mess, the casual crowd just doesn’t want that.

In some ways, that’s too much like real life. And I can see where people coming home from a hard work day would want to get away from stress, not add to it.

As it is, the one game of the three she liked was Civilization IV, and she mentioned having played an earlier Civ and liking it very much. Perhaps no surprise, in Civ IV she played Gandhi.

The real kicker is that, when the hour was up, she stopped playing. Despite having enjoyed it very much, and having done well, she was able to quit, just like that.

I doubt there’s a hardcore gamer anywhere who could do that. Not unless there was some emergency reason.

It makes me wonder if, indeed, hardcore players are addicts. “Just one more level….just one….”

The Gamer Within at The Escapist