Over on his blog today, Coyote has a piece pointing to another one about the difference between “casual” and “hardcore” gamers. These are no longer easy definitions to make.

Some who consider themselves “casual” – playing, say, 20 hours a week – would be viewed as “hardcore” by someone who jumps into a game for maybe an hour a day.

So Eric Heimburg at Making Casual Games is giving it a shot by asking a few questions. The first one is: do you play to be challenged or engaged?

He considers those who play for the challenge to be hardcore. These are the ones who will go at a game, usually in the FPS line, over and over until they beat that “tough boss” or other obstacle.

Players who prefer to be “engaged”, on the other hand, would give up or switch the difficulty level, if possible (or maybe – ahem – use cheat codes).

Me, I like a balance. Enough challenge to keep the game from being boring (that is, fights too easy, or too hard), and enough story to keep me interested.

Of course, that doesn’t apply to a game like Fate or Diablo, where “hack and haul” is the main event. There, challenge is the big feature. And that can be fun, in small doses.

When we get to RPGs, though, it’s balance that I want. Easy fights at the start (when we’re all wimps), and a bit tougher later, but not so bad that you have to reload ten times until you make it through.

Check out Coyote’s blog, and also the link to Eric’s post, and see what you think. Are you “hardcore” or “casual”? And for that matter, is this a good way of separating the two types?

Challenged or Engaged? on Coyote’s blog