Shira Chess. “Bejeweled.” In B. Perron, K. Boudreau, M.J.P. Wolf, D. Arsenault (eds.) Fifty Key Video Games. New York, Routledge, 2022.

Abstract: Bejeweled is one of the most ubiquitous of match-3 casual games. Its longevity on the market paired with its lush aesthetics make it a foundational game that influenced many that came after it. In the following, I argue that the importance of Bejeweled is not in any one aspect of the game itself, but in how it helped usher in different kinds of video games – casual games – in a way that irrevocably changed the market and perception of the medium in broader culture.

The end of casual; long live casual

Abstract: When we discuss games, as a culture, the games under discussion are often presumed almost always a “core” (or “hardcore”) games. However, video games are change rapidly. The market has been shifting for years with increased revenue and game play occurring in casual and mobile gaming. Revenue streams have are now flowing from digital distribution; the App Store and Google Play have continued to generate substantial industry revenue, which continues to grow. During this, efforts to study a broader category of games often end up reifying a division between casual and hardcore games, the effect of which is to lump players and play styles into specific categories. The politics of this terminology is not nothing – the way games are discussed in mass media, specialized journalism and academic writing, all affect who gets to play and how that player is portrayed. This article serves as an introduction to a special issue for the journal Games & Culture that considers the impact and importance of the casual market.