5 Things I’ve Realized as an Older Gamer
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I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember. When I was 12, I played my first game, 3D Pinball, on a Windows ‘95 PC and since then I’ve played on every console and computer imaginable. I still remember the day that I beat the Elite Four for the first time in Pokemon and look back fondly to the time I stormed a mansion full of drug dealers in Grand Theft Auto.
I love gaming and I always will, but these days I just don’t play as much as I used to. Age hasn’t dulled my enthusiasm for video games but as is the case with most hobbies, life tends to get in the way. Here are a few things I’ve realized as an older gamer.
5 Things I’ve Realized as an Older Gamer
5. I Stick To Tried and Tested Franchises.
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Time is a precious commodity and more and more of it seems to slip away as I grow older. Work, family, chores and other responsibilities chip away precious minutes of my gaming time. It’s important to make the 30 or so minutes of free time count.
Having so little time for gaming means that I have to maximize my time with games I know I will enjoy. I rarely venture outside my comfort zone of a few classic franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Elder Scrolls and Call of Duty. I’m more cautious about trying new games and sadly, I’ve probably missed out on a few good titles as a result.
4. I Still Play the Games of my Childhood.
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It is a testament to the developers of Diablo II and my own insatiable desire to butcher demonic spawn that I am still playing the game 14 years after its release.
The blurry pixels and 2D backgrounds may look dated compared to today’s photorealistic faces and gorgeously rendered environments, but there’s something oddly comforting about reliving these little pieces of my youth. It’s no surprise that I still fire up Age of Empires II or Knights of the Old Republic every few months.
3. I Pay Less Attention to Gaming News.
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I used to collect a lot of video game magazines. I had subscriptions to EGM, GamePro, Computer Gaming World and PC Gamer. Video game news was my blood. I knew all the latest rumors, I knew all the players and when I talked about games I sounded like an industry insider (or an insufferable douche, depending on how much I knew about the topic).
Now, I visit just one video game website regularly: IGN, and some days I barely understand what’s happening in the gaming world. I don’t even get half the memes out there.
2. I Stick to the Controller and the Keyboard.
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I like to think that I’m fairly open-minded. I watch films by Lars von Trier, listen to dub-step and have a Snapchat. But when it comes to gaming, I’m still pretty old-school. You won’t find me waving a “wand”, swiping on a touchscreen or gesturing wildly in front of my Xbox anytime soon. The only way I’m playing a game is with a controller or a mouse and keyboard.I’m optimistic about virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus but time will tell whether it really is the future of gaming or just another tired gimmick.
I think most gamers agree. The tactility and accuracy that a controller offers is not going to go away anytime soon.
1. I Never Play Games on Hard Difficulty Anymore.
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There was a time when I would play on Hard mode all the time, no question. If I wasn’t dying constantly, I wasn’t having fun. I would work for every achievement, find all the hidden tokens and beat every boss thrice. I’d play until my fingers bled. Now I have no desire to die several hundred deaths in Dark Souls or go through The Last of Us on Grounded difficulty.
I don’t want more stress. There’s enough of that going around. I just want to sit on the couch, drink a beer and zone out.
Although gaming has become a fundamentally different experience, it hasn’t made me any less passionate. I look forward to the day when I’m crushing my grandchildren in Tekken 24.