). Casual Bodies are Hybrid Bodies. In Hybrid Play: Crossing Boundaries in Game Design, Player Identities, and Place Spaces.

Edited by Adriana de Souza e Silva and Regan Glover-Rijkse. New York: Routledge.

Abstract: “Casual game” is an industry term that is often used derisively or dismissively—it is a catch-all meant to indicate a style of play but is often deployed like a genre. The term increasingly infers a discursive list of game genres: Match-3, invest/express, hidden object, and puzzle games all fall under the purview of what is often considered “casual.” The video game industry and dominant gaming culture often express a great deal of ambivalence toward these games and their players—both hoping to monetize off the emerging audience but simultaneously deploying memes like “filthy casuals” that remind players of a gamic pecking order. We are at a pivotal moment for the video game industry, and the hybridity of casuals is at the core of what games have the potential to become. In short, the world we live in, the world we play in, is a “casual” one that privileges casual temporal encounters with our mobile devices, the primary vector for these games. Our casual gaming bodies are composed of seemingly contradictory hybrids: work/play, expansion/constriction, and freedom/captivity. Because of these hybrid modes, casual bodies can reclaim gaming as a medium for all. Thus, by pushing back against industry rhetoric that privileges the staunch structure of console gaming over the hybrid aesthetic of the casual, we can witness a shift wherein more bodies can transform into gaming bodies.

Shira Chess