Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Vernacular

I'm going to nitpick on casual game genre terminology for a bit. Specifically, on one genre.

Probably the most common genre people refer to in the space is the "Matching" or "Match 3". I use Match 3 most often, but it's not entirely fair, as there are a few games that fit within the genre for which 3 is not the number (4 or 5 appear from time to time). That being said, "matching" is too generic, and Match 3 immediately connotes the genre. I much prefer this to "Bejewelled clone", as many match 3 games have evolved pretty far from that mechanic and to call them that is derisive.

Another genre (arguable a sub-genre within Match 3) is that comprised of games like Zuma, Luxor, and Tumblebugs. Here we have a popular enough genre to inspire a large number of games (some 'clones', some with different mechanics and themes) but with which a genre name is not widely associated. Most refer to them as "Zuma clones", as Zuma was the first casual mega-hit in the genre. However, this isn't far since (a) it's derisive, and (b) it's pre-dated by Puzloop (another controversy exists around that, but I digress). So, for this genre, I've heard "Zuma clone", "chain popper" and "marble popper". Personally, I prefer "chain popper" as it's indicative of the mechanic, but doesn't imply/assume the chained objects be spherical rolling objects (indeed, I've seen at least one involving animals waddling/sliding).

So there you have it: Match 3, and Chain Popper. Please add them to you dictionaries, both mental and spell check :-)

*And nod of the head to the guys at Playfirst, who, to my knowledge, coined the Chain Popper genre name.

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