Casual Game Design

1st Edition

Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of Us

Authors: Gregory Trefry
Paperback ISBN: 9780123749536
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 26th January 2010
Page Count: 264


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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:

Key Features

Analyzing and dissecting the mechanics that make a game engaging
How to look for game design inspiration in everything from games to playful activities
Stripping down game ideas to the core element of fun and build from there
Combining established mechanics into entirely new games
*Endorsed by the IGDA – The International Game Developer’s Association


Game designers and developers. Secondary: students of game design. Level: All levels of game designers/developers.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction; What is Casual Gaming?; The Game Mechanic at Work; Play is the Thing; Matching; Sorting; Seeking; Managing; Hitting; Chaining; Constructing; Bouncing, Tossing, Rolling and Stacking; Socializing; Index


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2010
Morgan Kaufmann
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Gregory Trefry

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.

Affiliations and Expertise

Greg Trefry has designed everything from web-based MMOs to hit casual games to alternate reality games. Prior to co-founding the independent game studio Gigantic Mechanic, Greg was the Creative Director on Gamestar Mechanic. Before that he was a Senior Game Designer at Gamelab. In 2006 he created the Come Out & Play Festival, a festival of street games that brings designers and players from around the world to New York City every summer for three days of play. He teaches game design and development at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and Parsons The New School for Design.


"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…"