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 but not all of us felt this way. As explained by Ian from Adventure Rules in an excellent post, this was the year that the event lost 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
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
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.