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Older and wiser gamers: part 1

So what did you think of last month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)? It may have left plenty of gamers excited for the next generation of consoles and adding future titles to their wishlists but not all of us felt this way. As explained by Ian from Adventure Rules in an excellent post I’d recommend reading, this was the year that some felt the event lose some of its magic.

It’s not because we’ve fallen out of love with video games but, as he pointed out, the version of us that used to stay up so night playing them has gone. The older you get, the less time you have to do that – and the more you realise you don’t have to play every release or blog about every expo to still identify as a gamer. Ian’s words got me thinking about how the way I approach my hobby has changed over the years and what I’ve learnt from that experience. Although it can feel sad letting go of what you used to be, there are some amazing insights that come with getting older.

Reaction times slow down – but you see another side of games

EGX, video games, 3 Minutes to Midnight, Kim

Character deaths are more frequent now your reaction times are increasing but there’s a silver-lining to this age-related change. Instead of chasing first-place, you’re more inclined to take a step back and actually enjoy a game for what it is. Be it a unique mechanic, gorgeous visuals or an engrossing narrative, every title has something special about it that can sometimes be overlooked in the race to win. There’s also a chance for ‘quieter’ games to take the spotlight as you look for something different to the action-fests you played when you were younger.

There’s less time for games – so you concentrate on those you like

As described by Ian, there’s a certain kind of pressure that comes with being a gamer and you almost feel as though you have to play everything in order to be relevant. However, as you get older you realise you don’t have time for all that and there’s no point in wasting those few spare hours you do have on games you’re not going to enjoy. Your long history of playing has given you a good understanding of what you like and what you don’t so instead of jumping on every new release, you only pick up those you know you’re likely to get pleasure from.

Your opinions change – and you’re able to explain why

Your core values and beliefs don’t tend to change but opinions shift slightly over time, and what a greater experience with video games does is give you the ability to explain why. Sure, it’s ok to say you liked a game because ‘you just did’; but the knowledge you’ve gained means you’re able to think about that experience deeper and consider exactly why it was a positive one. This opens up the path for some extremely interesting conversations with gamers of a similar age, along with the possibility of new friendships as a result.

There’s still a lot of outrage – but you don’t get caught up in it

One thing that doesn’t change however is just how much outrage there is on the internet. Whether it’s that a new release is being delayed, a game is to be an exclusive on a certain platform or a study has declared video games to be bad for us, you can guarantee that a section of the gaming community will blow up. What you realise as you get older though is that you don’t have to get swept up in all that anger. It’s far more interesting to take a step back, consider why companies make the decisions they do and analyse the outcomes.

Kids get in the way of gaming – but you can share your hobby with them

Insomnia, video games, Ethan, Kim

Our children are the future generation of gamers and it’s up to us to introduce them to the hobby responsibly. That means talking to them about what they want to play and why; discussing why certain titles aren’t appropriate; and showing them they’re not all about violence and explosions. With a little guidance, the next members of the community will understand that gaming is made up of all sorts of unique and eye-opening experiences, and everyone deserves to be a part of that regardless of who and where they are.

So you see, getting older isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As the Later Levels tagline says: XP comes with age.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

9 thoughts on “Older and wiser gamers: part 1 Leave a comment

  1. I LOVE this post 😀 I relate to a lot of this! I’m a 37 year old father of one (about to be two) but I’m still passionate about games. But I definitely focus on the stuff that brings me joy… even though I’m entitled to some quality free titles on PS Plus. I also don’t care about the kind if outrage I see on social media. “Spider-Man no longer has puddles? This is unacceptable!!”

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    • I can’t remember the last time I actually downloaded anything from PS Plus… all the good titles offered this year have been ones I’ve already played, and I can’t be bothered with the others even if they are free. I’d much rather spend my time with games I know I’m going to enjoy and that make me want to continue gaming. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. E3 hasn’t been fun for quite a while for me. All the high-profile stuff has been super-corporate for several years now — endless parades of suits on stage talking about their “endless pursuit of the quality and excellence our customers expect” — and what interesting stuff there is on the show floor doesn’t tend to get anywhere near the coverage it deserves. (This is, at least partly, what did for Vita in the West; people would see Sony didn’t put Vita in its presentation and assumed nothing was going on, when more often than not there was plenty of cool Vita stuff on the floor!)

    Of course, part of this is due to the fact that from about 2010-2011 or so, I decisively said “screw it” to keeping up with the “fashionable” games and instead chose to focus on those games that I personally found appealing — regardless of review scores, regardless of coverage. I’ve had way more fun with my hobby as a result ever since, so I don’t really miss E3 being exciting; there are other events at which the stuff I like throws up exciting news — the recent Anime Expo had a bunch of cool announcements, for example!

    I hadn’t read your “The Hardest Co-Op” post before but I was glad (and unsurprised!) to read of your responsible nature when considering games that are appropriate for the kiddo. Not enough parents take this much interest in what their kids are playing, and if they aren’t already gamers themselves it’s difficult to make them understand that the games of today are not the abstract experiences they were in the late ’70s and early ’80s!

    I worked in Game for a couple of holiday seasons, and it was always disappointing how many parents would come in to buy Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty for their kids who were with them. They *knew* that the game was 18-rated, hence them buying it rather than making their kid do it, but any time we queried whether they were fully aware of the content therein, they just didn’t seem to care all that much. Because it was the parent buying the game — regardless of whose hands it would end up in — there was nothing further we could do.

    Oh, and amen to the outrage thing. So much outrage these days just isn’t over anything that matters in the slightest. I have better things to do than get swept along by people who seem to enjoy complaining more than actually playing the games they claim to love. It does concern me a bit when I see this outrage escalating, though; the most recent, unpleasant example I can think of is a certain proportion of the people upset over some decisions regarding the upcoming Pokemon game starting to fling around completely unfounded sexual abuse allegations. There is no world in which that is an acceptable or proportionate response to something you don’t like in a video game that isn’t out yet!

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    • I think most older gamers can recall when they had their ‘screw it’ moment. I can remember struggling to admit that I couldn’t keep up with new games for a long time, but then realising that I didn’t actually want to play most of them anyway! There was some initial concerns that focusing totally on the titles I enjoyed might affect content for the blog as readers wouldn’t be interested in the amount of adventure titles I play, but I’m still here and still writing so it doesn’t seem things turned out all that bad. 😉

      I have to say, we’ve been lucky when it comes to the stepson and gaming: he’s always eager to talk about his hobby so we have plenty of opportunity to have conversations with him about it. Now that he’s almost a teenager new challenges are starting to creep in… there’s a post about that coming soon!

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  3. This is so relatable, I’ve never been big on titles like Call of Duty and Fortnite and always enjoyed playing by myself but the past couple of years, things such as achievements haven’t bothered me as we were normally comparing gamerscore when we were younger. But I find myself playing games for some sort of reason now either to review or just because they help me relax, nothing better than coming home chucking on Cities: Skylines and putting on a banging playlist to chill out and even ignoring requests to play games that my mates are playing even if I fall behind.

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    • It sounds as though Cities: Skylines is to you what ESO is to me. I’ve been known to zone our for an hour or two after work, just fishing or collecting plants… 😉

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