Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of Us, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Casual Game Design

Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of Us, 1st Edition

By Gregory Trefry

CRC Press

246 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780123749536
pub: 2010-01-26
SAVE ~$9.44
Currently out of stock
Hardback: 9781138427785
pub: 2017-11-15
SAVE ~$30.75
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429100192
pub: 2010-01-26
from $30.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


From Windows Solitaire to Bejeweled to Wii Tennis, casual games have radically changed the landscape of games. By simplifying gameplay and providing quick but intense blasts of engaging play, casual games have drawn in huge new audiences of players. To entertain and engage the casual player, game designers must learn to think about what makes casual games work, from game mechanics to narrative content. Through the close examination of a number of casual games, you will learn how to inject the necessary game design elements into your casual games and give your designs the complexity and strategy they need to hook gamers. You will learn:


"Gregory Trefry defines the attributes for casual games in his book "Casual Game Design" as follows:

- Rules and goals must be clear.

- Players need to be able to quickly reach proficiency.

- Casual game play adapts to a player's life and schedule.

- Game concepts borrow familiar content and themes from life.

I believe he has made a good approach in trying to define common aspects in casual games."

Table of Contents


It Started in Solitude


The Next Swing in Casual Gaming

Casual Queens versus Genre Kings

Why Now?

The Game Mechanic at Work

The Role of the Game Designer

The Responsibilities of the Game Designer

Becoming a Game Designer

Play Is the Thing

The Liminal Moment

The Rush to Complexity

The Push toward Simplicity

Patterns of Play

Tapping Play for Games

Defining Games



Bejeweled : The Casual Ideal

LEGO Fever and Luxor : The Necessity of Constraints

Snood : Matching as Means to an End



Klondike Solitaire vs. Spider Solitaire : More Choices, More Complexity

Drop 7 : Foiled by Randomness

Wurdle vs. Bookworm : The Replacements

Jojo ’s Fashion Show : Sorting the World Through Play



Mystery Case Files: Huntsville : Simple Seek-and-Find

Azada : Introducing Logic to Seeking



Diner Dash : Spinning Plates

Cake Mania : Managing and Matching

Managing Attention


Natural Feedback

Scaling with Skill

Whac -A-Mole : 30 Seconds of Primal Pleasure

Wii Tennis : The Swing Is the Thing



Diner Dash : Pushing Your Luck



Tetris and Crayon Physics : Two Approaches to Building

Creative Construction


Bouncing , Tossing, Rolling and Stacking

Bow Man 2 : Experimentation and Repetition

Paper Toss: Simple Choices with Unclear Outcomes

Jenga : The Inherent Drama of Gravity

World of Goo: From Toy to Game

Peggle : Balancing Mystery and Legibility



Apples to Apples : Reading People, Not the Game

Rock Band : Becoming a Band

What to Wear : Tapping the Wisdom of Crowds

About the Author

Greg Trefry designs games large and small, from offline games to video games. Greg is a Senior Game Designer at the New York-based studio Gamelab, where he leads design on the Gamestar Mechanic, a large web-based multiplayer game and the popular Jojo's Fashion Show franchise of casual downloadable games. Greg serves as the director of Come Out & Play, an annual festival of big games that brings together designers from around the world to turn New York City into a playground for an entire weekend. Greg also designs and produces big games, from low-tech events like CounterSquirt to large promotional Alternate Reality Games like Case of the Coveted Bottle. In addition to designing games, Greg teaches and writes about games. He has taught classes on subjects ranging from game design to interactive fiction and alternate reality games at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program and Parsons the New School for Design. He has spoken at conferences around the world about games. His writings about games have been published in Adobe Think Tank, Notes on Game Dev and PopMatters. Greg combines practical experience in game design with a background in teaching and theory. As both a professor and the director of the Come Out & Play Festival, Greg works with dozens game designers each year as they move from ideas to fully implemented games. In working with designers he brings a game designer's insight and a teacher's desire to help others produce their best possible work. This has given him a front-row view to what works and what doesn't in casual play and games.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Digital
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games