Swap Adjacent Gems to Make Sets of Three: A History of Matching Tile Games

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Jesper Juul


From sales figures and interviews, we know that many people outside the typical video game audience play small downloadable video games like Zuma, DinerDash, or Bejeweled. Such small video games are known as casual games, and have unsuspectedly become a major industry during the last few years. However, video game studies have so far mostly focused on foundational issues (“what is a game”) and on AAA games, big games purchased in stores. In this article, I try to remedy the situation by examining the historical development of the casual game sub-genre of matching tile games, to see how their game design has evolved over time, and to discuss the opposing perspectives that players and developers have on video game history.

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