Skip to content

Never growing up: too old for gaming?

While working our way through 50-days of streaming for GameBlast20, a new viewer popped up in the Twitch chat one evening and asked how old my other-half and I were. It was a question which caught us off-guard at the time and one I’ve been thinking about in the weeks since the event.

It’s fairly obvious to anyone who’s ever come along to one of our streams and seen us on camera that we’re older than the majority of content creators on the platform. We’ve both been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and have over 70 years’ gaming experience combined. Personally, I don’t think this is a bad thing: we’ve lived through several decades of video games, have seen trends come and go, and are still interested in what’s going on in the industry today.

Later Levels, Kim, Pete, faces, smiling, GameBlast19, SpecialEffect, stream

But based on the question we received during that stream last month, not everybody sees it that way. I understand (although obviously don’t agree) how some viewers who’ve never heard of Later Levels before may stumble across our content and think we’re too old to be doing this. Snap judgements based on our appearance could lead them to believe we’re never going to be successful, don’t know what the latest trends in gaming are, and that we should move over for younger streamers and bloggers.

So we’re frowned upon from within the community, but also outside of it too. Gaming and its associated culture have become more acceptable in the past several years but there are still many out there who view it as being ‘for kids’. I’ve written before that I think this comes from them being considered more akin to toys than other forms of media. Therefore older people who play them, just like Pete and I, are stereotypically thought of as being individuals who just don’t want to grow up.

But why should we give in to our age? We can be responsible adults, hold down full-time jobs, pay our mortgage and look after a teenager; then use our free time to enjoy video games, and even stream or blog about those experiences too. What harm is that doing anyone? It might be considered more ‘grown up’ to watch a film but playing a game isn’t much different: both draw us in with compelling stories and let us see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s just that one of them is interactive.

I can honestly see Pete and myself still picking up our controllers well beyond retirement. We’ve both been gaming since we were very young and don’t think we’ll ever give it up, so it’s unlikely our hobbies will change when we’re older. But blogging is a different matter and one I’m not so sure about. I’d love to think I’ll continue writing far into the future because my love for blogging and video games now goes hand-in-hand; but as the years pass, it gets more difficult to see that happening.

I’ve said before that there’s a space here in the community for everybody who wants it, regardless of their age, sex or anything else. That’s something I still truly believe. But the landscape has changed and the goals newer members seem to want out of blogging are far different than the objectives I’ve ever set for myself. Although writing is something I continue to enjoy right now, there are days where it almost feels as though I’m slowly being left behind and I wonder how long it can last.

I don’t want to build a group solely around Later Levels and be constantly active on social media. I’ve never considered running a Patreon or making money from the blog in any other way. And I’m not going to broaden the subject of the site to widen its appeal. These things, along with my age, set me apart from a lot of other bloggers. The heart of the hobby for me is the sense of being part of a community with a shared interest that supports each other, and this is what my focus will remain on.

I may not know how long the site will continue but what I do know is that I’ll carry on blogging and streaming for as long as they’re enjoyable. And you can guarantee Pete and I will still be gaming for many years after that too (although I doubt he’s ever going to be able to persuade me that The Division is the best game ever). And as for those people both within and outside the community who think we’re too old? Well, we’re simply going to ignore them and carry on doing what we love.

Do you ever feel you’re too old for your hobbies, and have you been put under any pressure to give them up? Whatever happens, never grow up.

Kim View All

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

58 thoughts on “Never growing up: too old for gaming? Leave a comment

  1. A great piece and yeah, as a gamer in his 30s is certainly something I’ve given muse to. Personally I don’t tend to feel it as much here in the digital ether as it’s all personas or projections of ourselves which for the most part tends to be the idealised version anyway. I love what you guys do for instance and what you produce but also guess you have a lot of real world challenges and experiences outside the gaming word that doesn’t filter through but shapes your writing.

    I guess that for me in a way is a roundabout way of saying experience of ‘age’ or whatever can be a benefit in adding depth and perspectives to pieces that are more interesting to read. My real feeling of being outside ‘the cool kids’ was at ‘con and the age of the attendees which did give me pause for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every time I go to EGX or Rezzed, the attendees seem to be getting younger… then I realise that it’s actually me who’s getting older. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though! Whereas in the past I used to feel nervous when talking to developers or playing their games, I don’t feel that anxiety so much now and the events are a more comfortable experience.

      Do you think the age of other attendees would ever put you off going to an event? 🤔

      Like

      • It’s an interesting point you raised and I suppose depends very much on the circumstance or the event. Last year for instance attended LFCC in London with the express purpose of meeting one or two Trek actors and that was fine as generally the stars of screen were all from shows for fans of a certain age. At MCM though did feel quite uncomfortable with quite a youngish age demographic, not necessarily the families but the young fan base. Couldn’t quite place it. I enjoy the nature of the shows but do find ones that appeal to all ages more appealing than ones seeking the influencer and streaming audience which is a lot younger.

        Like

        • Ah, this reminds me of Insomnia… it’s the event I seem to enjoy the least because it’s most based on influencers and online celebrities. I don’t know who most of them are and, at the risk of sounding old and grumpy, they all look like they should be at home on the weekends finishing their homework. 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I know I’ve grown too old for the social media trends in gamer culture, and that’s okay. Ignore the ageist little punks and their fancy trends. Free time is a precious gift we should spend on hobbies that truly make us happy regardless of any silly age stereotypes attached to them. Colouring books have turned into a popular hobby for adults as a great example.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s someone in our family who’s very disdainful of video games because they think they’re childish. But this is also the same person who loves Disney, wears the merchandise almost constantly and goes to the cinema on release date whenever there’s a new film! Keep your Disney – I’m sticking with video games.

      Loving the purple hair, by the way. 😘

      Like

      • If I were ranking things on a scale of maturity (which I would never really do since everyone should enjoy whatever hobby they want regardless of age stereotypes) I’d place video games waaaay above Disney, just sayin’.

        *flicks hair* Thanks! I had it dyed recently 😊

        Like

  3. I’ll be 40 this year and I still enjoy gaming! As long as you and Pete enjoy it, do it! Don’t listen to the haters that tell you they’re too old…. They’re forgetting that in a few years time, they themselves will be in that position and then they might change their opinions… Too late, but still… I enjoy reading your posts and I also enjoy writing. And the same goes for the blog as for gaming: as long as you enjoy it, don’t give it up! 💪🏻

    Like

    • Oh yeah, I can’t ever see myself giving up gaming! It’s far to big a part of my life in terms of hobbies and something I get huge enjoyment from. The blog will continue for as long as possible and whatever happens, I’m really grateful for the friends I’ve made through it. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you’re not thinking on giving up after the age comments! Good for you. And thank you for keeping the blog up, I always enjoy reading your posts. Have a good day! 😁

        Like

  4. I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve had people tell me I’m too old for games as well! I think it’s silly to try to ascribe a certain hobby to a certain age bracket. Video games are specifically designed to appeal to all age groups, and it genuinely annoys me when people try to make it seem like it’s a useless pastime. As consoles and technology get better, video games get more complex as well – they’re a unique medium, and I think anyone, of any age, can appreciate that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This completely sums it up! No pastime is useless if it brings you enjoyment, provides you a place to escape to when you need a moment of peace, and gives you something to look forward to. ☝️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really dislike the idea of not being able to have fun anymore once you’re an adult. I remember last October seeing people on Twitter trashing on “old people” for calling Halloween “Spooky Season” or being excited for it or whatever.

    I’ve only just entered adulthood, but honestly, I feel more like a kid than I’ve ever been. Gone are the days when I had to spend 24/7 doing homework or trying to convince my parents to let me spend >$30 dollars for a game. I think I play more now than I ever have in the past.

    Like

    • Ah, I know that feeling. Middle-age is fast approaching and yet I still feel like a kid in some ways. I don’t ever see that changing though – and why would I want it to? Here’s to holding onto that sense of curiosity and excitement well into my older years. 😀

      Like

  6. I remember being in middle school and wondering if I was too old to keep playing pokemon. Would people think I was weird? But my love for the series drove out these thoughts and not long after I discovered that many others were still playing (and would continue playing). One of my sister’s friends also made a remark on guys in college being too old for games, implying video games were only for boys, and I was shocked. I plan on playing video games for the rest of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you think being female has an effect on the too-old-for-games argument? I mean, do people who hold that view feel even more or less strongly about it when the gamer they’re speaking to is female? 🤔

      Like

  7. It sucks to here that there’s still enough people like that who feel the need to question someone’s interests just because of their age. I’ve heard the same stuff nearly my whole life. It’s been even worse for my wife, who felt she wasn’t allowed to have an interest in video games once you reach a certain age. I remember getting older and feeling like I shouldn’t display how much I love games like Mario or Pokémon because they are seen as “kiddie games”, or anything Nintendo for that matter, whereas it was seen as slightly more mature to be only into games like Halo or Call of Duty. BTW I had the chance to stop by and watch you, Pete, and Zelda playing some Division 2 yesterday, keep it up! 🎮❤️

    Like

    • Oh no… that was not a good night ha ha! We’d stayed up really late the evening before and I was so tired, I kept having to kick myself so I didn’t fall asleep on stream. 😆

      I totally get where your wife is coming from. I went through a period during secondary school where I gave up video games because it wasn’t ‘acceptable’ back then for a girl to play. But several years later, a friend turned up on my doorstep with his Xbox 360 and a copy of Fable – and I never looked back.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m 61 and no-one has ever tried to tell me I’m “too old” for any of me interests, be that gaming, comics, music or most certainly blogging, which, if anything, I would have thought was already seen as an older person’s kind of thing! I read a lot of gaming blogs and not many of the writers are under thirty these days. A lot of them are 40+. Maybe things are different when it comes to streaming and vlogging, I could see that, but bloging is just writing and there’s never been an age limit on that, up or down.

    Like

    • Hmm… maybe I just haven’t found the right blogging circle yet then. It certainly seems like the majority of bloggers I know are between ten and 15 younger than I am. Saying that though, those who have turned into real-life friends have tended to be more my age; perhaps it’s something to do with naturally gravitating towards them and their experiences? 🤔

      Like

  9. I’ve been made to feel like I’m too old for gaming, too old for Lego and then too old to still be collecting “toys” (basically any sort of figurine or item). I try to brush it off but every so often that little bit of doubt creeps in. But I love all this stuff/these things and I’m the most important opinion when it comes to what I enjoy.

    We (readers, viewers, friends) want you to keep enjoying what you enjoy and will support you and be a part of your community. Keep having fun and keep playing. Maybe even The Division (for Pete at least).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s face it: Pete is never going to give up The Division. Or singing on stream even when he says he’s not going to sing on stream. Or shooting at cops in GTA when everyone tells him not to shoot at the cops. 🤣

      Like

  10. Huh. Interesting subject, and I think has spawned a post of my own when I get home tonight.

    In short though? My personal belief is that there is no ‘too old’ for hobbies, be that games or most anything else. (I’m sure there are some extreme examples out there people could throw around, but ‘generally’…)

    But despite that belief, clearly this stigma (or fear of the stigma at least) is something I’m very aware of. I only rarely allow any solid linkage between my professional identity and my online/hobby orientated identity. It’s not a hard and fast rule I stick to, but it’s close.

    And most of that is I think around the negative connotations held (or that I believe are held) about gaming as a 30-something.

    Like

    • Loved your response post, Naithin (pingback below for anyone who’d like to read it). ❤

      I'm the same when it comes my blogging and professional identity, and try to keep the two as separate as possible so I rarely talk about gaming in the workplace. There's a post coming soon explaining why this is the case but it sounds as though some of our reasons are very similar.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Around Christmas, I had to buy some stuff from an electronics store, and before me there was an elderly lady who was buying a high-end PC. Probably like everyone else in a 50 km radius, I assumed that it was for her grandson, and started talking to her about it. Turns out, she bought it for herself. She told me that she couldn’t go out that much anymore, so she started gaming. After a year she wasn’t satisfied with her old PC any longer, so she decided to step up her game and go full Master Race (she even knew the meme!). It was awesome!

    Her grandson apparently thought it was awesome, too, since she told me that he recommends her games and that she has access to his Steam library.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I always say that retirement homes of the future will be awesome. All the old people will have rooms with killer gear, set up mega events and smack talk each other like mad.

        “Get rekt, Bridget! Last night I was dead for 5 minutes and banged your mom in heaven!” – “Yeah, 5 minutes sounds exactly as long as your wrinkly ass could last, Jonathan!”

        Liked by 1 person

    • while not videogames me and my friends were going to buy dungeons and dragons book from a store. we met an older lady who was buying the books so she could teach her kids. it was the sweetest thing 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Found this blog via Time To Loot, so thanks Naithin for linking here. Adding y’all to my RSS feed!

    My “favorite” part of being an older gamer is looking for a “mature” guild and finding descriptions like “Mature gamers only, you must be 25 to join” and I’m like “Kid I have underwear more than 25 years old!” 🙂

    Honestly the older I get (I’m a few months out from 60) the only thing that really changes for me is multiplayer. I generally can’t be bothered to deal with most of the gaming community these days, so I either play with my small and dwindling circle of friends, just play with muted randoms, or stick to single player. I am definitely the grumpy old man yelling at the kids to stay off his lawn.

    It gets even worse since I play on console a lot more than on PC (I no longer have the patience for messing around with gaming PCs very often). Older players seem even more rare on the console platforms.

    Anyway, thanks for the excellent post. Also, ask Pete how I can get some danged god rolls in Warlords of New York, wouldya?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nimgimli, lovely to meet you! 👋

      The only time I ever go multiplayer nowadays if I’m with friends. They’re in similar positions – full-time jobs, families, etc – so everyone in our small group understands if someone can’t play at a particular time due to other commitments. They’re also very understanding about my lack of coordination, which I love them for! I’m not sure I’d get that from players I don’t know so I tend to stay away.

      Seriously, please don’t encourage Pete when it comes to The Division. It’s all he’s been talking about since the expansion and he keeps stealing my PC. 😂

      Like

  13. You’re never too old for gaming. I know some people in their 40s and 50s who are proud gamers. Age is just a number. As long as we enjoy gaming and we are able to balance it with our other responsibilities that is what matters.

    Like

    • I think you’ve picked up on a very good point there – ‘as long as we are able to balance it with our other responsibilities’. It shouldn’t matter how you fill your spare time as long as you’re getting enjoyment from it, no harm is coming to anybody and you’re fulfiling your commitments. Like you said, age is just a number!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s interesting reading this and thinking about the flight sim and simracing crowd, who tend to skew much older than the average gamer; these types of games are considered more “serious”, I guess, and certainly the hardware requirements, and associated need for more disposable income, play a part too.

    Mind you, while I’m semi-seriously into the racing stuff, both I and my wife, in our late 30s, still try to find time to play together, be it mobile games, Guild Wars 2, or Stardew Valley. Neither of us feel too old for it!

    Like

    • The family that games together, stays together! My husband has never been interested in the blogging side of what I do, but he’s right there next to me with a controller in hand. The only difficult part is actually agreeing on what we’re going to play. 😂

      Like

  15. I did go through a phase, around about 17 or 18, when I gave up on pretty much everything I had as a hobby because there was a general pressure to say that I’d ‘past them’. I stopped watching pro wrestling, playing video games and painting Warhammer 40k.

    It lasted about three years, I was bloody miserable.

    By the age of 19 I was gaming again on both console and table. By 20 I was watching wrestling and going to shows. Looking back I’m never really sure exactly why I did it. Perhaps there was an air of ‘putting away the toys’ and ‘getting serious’? We’re very quick to reject play out of our lives at a certain age with the theory that it’s incompatible with adult life. It’s a loss that I don’t think some people ever get around to replacing.

    Like

    • …which is kind of sad. They’re the people who are telling us we’re too old for a hobby that gives us enjoyment, when they’re really missing something like that themselves. 😦

      Do you think this has affected how you’re bringing up your son? Every now and again, I do notice it with my stepkid. We try to teach him that there’s nothing wrong with gaming but there’s a right and inclusive way to do it; hopefully that will stick with him when he feels under pressure to drop it.

      Like

      • True story.

        Kyle had about three lads digging on him at school one day because he mentioned he was looking forward to Mario Odyssey. They were laying into him for not playing FIFA or Call of Duty.

        They stopped when he mentioned that he was also looking forward to playing it alongside me. They were confused as none of their Dads played video games with them, preferring instead to just let them do whatever.

        Some of the best times with Kyle are our sessions on Mario Kart or Minecraft. I’d hate to lose that time with him.

        Like

        • We had similar reactions from Ethan’s best friends when they first met us! They were really surprised Pete and I played video games – even more so for me because I’m a ‘girl’. I honestly thought there’d be more parents from our generation who shared gaming with their kids but it doesn’t seem as though this is frequently happening.

          Like

          • Are we not just on that cusp of a generation who started playing video games when they were still considered a kid’s thing?

            Are the PlayStation generation yet to come to the fore in this regard?

            Like

  16. I’m in my late twenties, and certain individuals do seem to find it weird that I still play video games, yet are happy to read a book or watch films. Luckily I have a little one on the way so I can have an excuse to play Lego in the future.

    I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing video games, but discussing it with people seems less appealing, the landscape has certainly changed, but it’ll be a while before it is accepted for the ‘oldies’ to play.

    Like

    • This could have something to do with parents and their kids gaming together… check out the comments from @cripleh above. If it was something that happened more frequently, maybe it would become more acceptable for older people to play video games because it’s considered the norm.

      At least we can start doing something about this with our own children. 😉

      Like

  17. Me and my partner have been gaming for years whilst balancing adult responsibilities. Gaming is never about age for us. Its a fun learning experience that bridges the gap between generations. I personally never understood why gaming receives such a negative stigma in he world of adults. Maybe because “You could be doing other things with your time”…Like what? Ive always been drawn to losing myself in various media and while i LOVE to read and do it often nothing has drawn me in more than the overarching stories of Dragon age and Mass effect. Give up gaming? Never.

    Like

    • Ah yes, the ‘better things do be doing with your time’ argument. One we’ve all experienced at least once. 😉

      The thing is, the people who say that usually consider those ‘better things’ to be reading a book or watching a film. The only thing different about playing a video game is that the story you’re experiencing is interactive; you get to participate in it rather than be a passive viewer. How can that be a bad thing?!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Both my wife and I are in our 40’s and we try doing a retro game night with our kids on Fridays. It’s fun to introduce our kids to gaming when we were kids. It’s also funny as my son who is an avid xbox one gamer, does struggle on the NES.

    Like

    • A retro game night is such a lovely idea! It keeps the history going and shows the kids just how far gaming has come – as well as how pro their parents are when they take over the NES. 😉

      Like

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: