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Gaming at the Geritol Age

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the need-me-to-help-with-mouselook-grandpa dept.


An anonymous reader writes "There's an interesting opinion editorial over on about all the recent reports regarding the age of gamers, and what it all might mean - if anything - to the hobby." From the article: "When I tell someone that I write about video games, I typically get a pretty enthusiastic response. The few who have looked down on me for having such a job 'at my age' aren't so much numerically older than I am as they're older in mind and spirit. Take for instance my neighbor. I honestly think he considers me less of an adult for playing videogames 'at my age.' That's fine. I think he's odd in general, so we're even. I've been playing video games in one form or another since 1977. That's the majority of my life now. But I'm not alone though. Things are changing in the world of video games. I guess the best way to put it is: it's growing up. I'm not talking about the industry itself, but rather those who actually play the games."

cancel ×


Open Letter to Zonk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144177)

Hey, Zonk, have you ever considered retirement? I mean, a perfectly competent /.er is sitting around and needs a job, or at least a better one than the admin job he has. He would make an excellent editor: he spends enough time here, and he always tends to point out dupes. He goes by the username TripMaster Monkey [] .

Also, have you got the message? The Slashdot community doesn't want you. They don't like articles comparing games to female orgasms. They don't like seeing the same story twice while their own interesting and original submissions are rejected. They don't like typos. They don't like links to articles from The Onion. They don't like a lack of respect for Nintendo at the GDC. You can tell this in the majority of comments to your posts.

A Slashdot analogy: the /. effect is to a DDoS attack as a Zonkism is to a crapflood.

Is there any wonder why "bonk the Zonk" is now a widely-used phrase? I'm not puzzled. You're a troll disguised as an editor. Either that, or you're secretly working for Antislash.

You should resign before you hurt [] your [] reputation [] further [] .

And to everyone else, feel free to copy this comment and FP it to other articles. Also feel free to reply with suggestions for future posts of this letter. With many slashdotters behind this movement, we can clean out the incompetency here. I mean, give a job that pays >$200,000k just to approve/reject story submissions to someone who knows what they're doing.

And if TMM is an editor, that means he'll only post in the discussions once every few years. No more ^_^ smileys and ascii art sigs!

Slightly offtopic: I am not TMM. If the TripMaster has something to say that would be modded down, he [] says [] it [] outright [] .

Let's get rid of Zonk so Slashdot can surpass Digg once again!!!

Bonk the Zonk! TMM for editor! Serenity NOW!!!
Trolling all trolls since 2001.

Re:Open Letter to Zonk (1)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144334)

Also feel free to reply with suggestions for future posts of this letter.

Improve your credibility next time by encheferizing your text first.

Re:Open Letter to Zonk (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144361)

And embiggen the font while you're at it!

Re:Open Letter to Zonk (2, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144411)

Bork Bork Bork BORK?

I don't think it's working...

Re:Open Letter to Zonk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144618)

Okay, I'll improve my credibility. Here goes...

Assume that I am TripMaster Monkey. A few days ago, I posted here [] , emphasis on point #1 in this case. Now, I'm going around posting the Open Letter to Zonk, trying to make myself an editor. This does not make sense.

As you can see, I could not possibly be TMM. I am yet another AC troll bent on disrupting discussion and wasting mod points. Good day to you, sir.

Trolling all trolls since 2001.

i dont wanna grow up... (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144193)

queue the music!
i dont wanna grow up im a Toys R Us... Gamer kid... something something, out of lyrics, this post must end.

Yeah, but then you get this: (4, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144244)

(loosely paraphrased from an issue of Nintendo Power)

Age 7: You play your first game of Equinox.
Age 15: You're failing school, but you can pass the skeletons now without trouble
Age 19: Missed your high school graduation, but at last you've conquered the third dungeon
Age 35: No job, no friends, never kissed a girl, but you can now get to the fifth dungeon with ease
Age 52: Heart's giving you trouble, but at least you can beat those green blobs in the sixth dungeon
Age 71: Can't feel the controller, can't see the screen, can't hear the sound. Feeling the breath of the evil empress on your neck, you bequeath the joystick to your grandson.
Age 7: Has to miss grandpa's funeral, but you finally defeated the evil empress. He would have wanted it that way.

Re:Yeah, but then you get this: (4, Funny)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144285)

Hold on...following the pattern, how would you have a grandson to bequeath it to?

Re:Yeah, but then you get this: (5, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144311)

Women are crafty. They probably attacked from behind. And did 2x damage.

Re:Yeah, but then you get this: (1)

ElVee (208723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144415)

I'd pay good money to get ambushed and critted by a lady, considering how long it's been since one got inside my armor.

Re:Yeah, but then you get this: (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144503)

I realise comparative anatomy is a theoretical subject for most gamers, but really I would expect you to realise that "attacking from behind" is the wrong "target" for making babies. 4x miracle maybe?

Re:Yeah, but then you get this: (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148049)

Women are crafty. They probably attacked from behind. And did 2x damage.

Sounds more like a critical hit to me. :-) He should have put on his Stinky Loincloth of Repulsion. That would have lowered his armor class and given him -10 to charisma. That would have made her choose a different target.

Re:Yeah, but then you get this: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144677)

Looking at the timeline, Grandpa was 64 when the kid was born. So, he could have gotten married and knocked a kid out in his forties. Not unreasonable.

There are a lot of extremely good-looking divorced women in their mid-thirties that are looking for second husbands. A 40 year old gaming nerd with no previous marriages and no kids, and a nice job with no debt presents a very attractive target.

That's how I got married at age 41, anyway.

What?! They made a sequel to Solstice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144304)

How am I just finding out about this now?!

I knew I shoulda got a SNES instead of that Sega crap!

The Best Part (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144323)

The best part is when your kids are old enough to play against you competitively! Early on, kickin their butts is just too cruel. And once they are old enough, then you whip out the ol' wireless, programmable controller baby!

Unenlightened (1)

adminsr (919472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144360)

Gaming isn't a "hobby," it's your life.

It's still mostly uncharted territory. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144368)

Gamers from the age of the author down to about mid-twenties are part of the first-ever generation to grow up with videogames as part of their world. Sociologically, they're just one of the many recent indecipherable blips. Television, motion pictures, radio, cars, and so many more things take a couple of generations to really settle into what most of the population regards as average daily life.

I imagine old Grampa Ugg the caveman turned his nose up at little Grogg and his young pals' hunting with sharpened stones rather than blunt clubs.

Re:It's still mostly uncharted territory. (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144596)

I imagine old Grampa Ugg the caveman turned his nose up at little Grogg and his young pals' hunting with sharpened stones rather than blunt clubs.

And we will be doing the same when we're old and grey and these damn kids keep running their mouths off about holographic gaming.

We're also the first generation to grow up with the internet, hybrid vehicles, Islamic (and Christian) fundamentalism, and a lot of other things. We take all of these things for granted while our grandparents just give us the "in my day, we didn't need the 'internets'" speech.

But we will be saying the same about whatever newfangled inventions confound us as we age, including inventions related to gaming. Already there's a large number of people (myself included) that argues that the best, most creative days of video gaming are behind us, and we're now stuck in a small set of specific genres with prettier graphics. That's just the start. Once (and/or "if") this whole online-centric "marketplace" for video games really takes off, where everything is just connected all the time and there is no way to even get away from it, you're going to have a whole new round of disenchanted old fuddy-duddies for whom video gaming is no longer what it used to be.

I guess what I'm saying is that things change and they never stop changing, and there will always be a generation gap. We're not so much the pioneers from the early days of video gaming as much as we're our grandkids' future dimentia-suffering grandparents who are just as out of touch with their world as our own grandparents were with ours.

Now get the hell off my virtual lawn!

Re:It's still mostly uncharted territory. (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147684)

I believe the cannon states that young Grogg was hunting with a sharpened 'stick' instead of a sharp stone...

This Just In (2, Funny)

Flame0001 (818040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144390)

The US Government has released patch 4.04 which addresses the aging population.

We have implemented a system that decreases the liklihood of older players being ambushed. We have also implemented a pill that allows the older player to regain the vigor of his character's prime. This buff lasts for an hour, and is only usable once each day. Consult your local cleric before use.

Kids don't game much anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15144413)

An interesting thing I read a while back (and noticed in my own life) is that children are not playing videogames much anymore; the reason for this is that videogames (and controllers) are becoming too complicated for a small child to use. If you think back to when we were children, the games we played were break-out or Pack-Man or Space Invaders; games that required 1D or 2D motion and 1 button (at most); modern games require 3D motion a long with multiple buttons (and possibly button combinations).

The fact is that Adults playing 'more hours' than kids or teenagers shouldn't be a surprise. Many children and teenagers are giving up gaming after they're too old for 'Spong Bob' games because the learning curve is too frustrating.

Gaming: Not just for kids anymore (3, Insightful)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144421)

This is along the lines of something that's been floating around in my mind lately.
Video games started out mostly for kids. There weren't too many adults that played video games when they were first catching on. Now the "kids" that were playing video games in its infancy are adults and many haven't stopped playing video games.

However, the video game industry hasn't seemed to figure this out for the most part. Sure, there are "mature" games out now, but most of them appeal to the "barely legal" adult demographic. There are many gamers pushing 30 or older and probably wouldn't enjoy GTA:Ultra Hooters! too much.
Instead, the gaming industry seems to still be focusing on teenage gamers.
There are some valid reasons for this, and I'm not arguing those. However, as years go by and more and more people over 30 have grown up with video games, the industry really can't afford to continue to ignore this demographic.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Star Wars Galaxies is a great example. The game started out very in-depth with plenty of options for just about anyone to find something they liked. Now, it has been dumbed down to a VERY BAD wannabe FPS action game with nothing to do except "kill, loot treasure, repeat." They chucked out a game that should have been perfect for what should have been their target market (Most serious SW fans are 25+) in favor of a game to try (badly) to appeal to the younger "instant-gratification" crowd.

I think I'm starting to ramble so I'll stop now...

Re:Gaming: Not just for kids anymore (2, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144821)

nstead, the gaming industry seems to still be focusing on teenage gamers.
There are some valid reasons for this, and I'm not arguing those. However, as years go by and more and more people over 30 have grown up with video games, the industry really can't afford to continue to ignore this demographic.

I wouldn't say the industry is ignoring this demographic, but it probably is underserved. Still, games like The Sims appeal to the 30-and-up crowd, IMO, as do titles like Star Wars: Empire at War, and of course there's all those classic compilations and remakes, not to mention new stuff like Katamari Damacy that's in that classic gaming vein. (And hopefully will introduce a new generation to what real video gaming is like...)

But the main reason I think this demographic is maybe disproportionately represented on store shelves compared to the slew of ultra-violent, ultra-sexed up games for the barely legal crowd, is probably a simple one: while most game buyers are in their late 20's and early 30's, most game developers are at least half a decade younger. You can blame it at least in part on the notorious working conditions that the industry still suffers, where 12 hour days are considered a vacation. That's fine when you're just out of college, but get yourself married and settled down and very few people are going to continue living that life.

And it's true that games for the barely legal set do sell. But as titles like The Sims show, games for "the rest of us" can sell even better. But developers can only develop what they know, and given a choice between developing "Game A" for the college-age crowd or "Game B" for the gaming geezers, they'll choose "Game A" every time. Management will go along, because they know games like that have been profitable in the past, whereas games for the older demographic don't have as long of a track record.

The solution is really to try to keep us old guys making games in the industry (I used to be part of it too), and that means changing a lot of bad corporate habits; really a whole corporate culture. It's probably not going to happen. But unless it does, the industry is leaving a whole lot of money on the table, if you ask me.

btw, guys like Peter Molyneux, who have been around for decades, are the exception rather than the rule.

Re:Gaming: Not just for kids anymore (1)

hb253 (764272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148900)

The Sims? Please. I tried it for a few days and then gave up. What an awful game.

I play one game on a daily basis - Counter Strike: Source.

Other games I enjoy (or have enjoyed in the past): Gran Turismo 3/4, Need for Speed:Porsche Unleashed, Air Warrior (that's an oldie). Warbirds.

In general, my preference is for multiplayer online near-realistic action games.

Age: 42

Re:Gaming: Not just for kids anymore (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146177)

It's very simple, teenagers have the most disposable income compared to financial obligations (no rent, no house payments, no kids, no retirements funds, frequently no taxes cause their income is under the table or in the form of an allowance) of any age-group demographic in the country. Plus they're more likely to spend money on solitary entertainment since they see their friends all day at school anyway. Furthermore, many gamers are college students, who can game all day without having to be total recluses.

Remember when (1)

jthill (303417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144500)

themes like this were cautionary tales? Perky Pat, anyone? I get older, I get more tolerant of the changes I see (not going to make much of a grumpy old fart, sigh), but still remember how creepy the worlds I read about then felt.

Generation Gap... (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144515)

There's obviously nothing about video or computer games that makes them inherently part of youth culture. The problem is that anyone say over 45 only saw kids playing them when they came out, so they just assumed it was a kids thing. None of these people have friends that play video games (since I'd bet most of them don't have friends under 38 or so), and the only people THEY see playing them is their kids.) They of course assume that videogames are a kids thing, even though that's obviously incorrect. Any person they hear of that plays videogames must be some kind of weirdo, since in their mind videogames are like playing with childrens toys.

Many people live rather sheltered lives outside the things they personally experience. As an example: recently I was talking about taking off my front bike tire to mount it on my car rack, and my 66 year old mother looked like I was from another planet. They didn't have quick release when she was a kid, and she hasn't ridden a bike for probbably 30 years. Even though quick release has been popular for at least 20 years, and you see people using it fairly often it was alien technology to her.

Mature gamers? (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144668)

it's growing up. I'm not talking about the industry itself, but rather those who actually play the games

You, Sir, have never played Counter-Strike on a public server or followed a fully grown, 3-way free-for-all flame war between Playstation, XBox and Nintendo fanboys. Or did he refer to the Pacman generation?

Why does the _medium_ matter? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15144673)

It's ok for older people to play cards, board games, or slots?
But not ok to play video games because it is a different medium?

Far too many gamers fall victim to the red herring of game realism, when they are really complaining about lack of consistency.

Been gaming since the beginning (1)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145346)

Like the author I'm also 39. The first video game I put my hands on was the "Computer Space" arcade game at a Target in Oklahoma in 1972. It was in this big fiberglass case and no one knew what it is so they all just walked by. I probably just stood there for 15 minutes watching the attract mode.
We got "Super" Pong for our 8 inch B&W Sony portable around 1976 and from that point on always had some kind of computer system in the house.

My father (68) is a Half Life 2 junky. Just yesterday he emailed a deathmatch screenshot to my brother and I to show how he came out with the top score. I introduced him to Doom and Duke Nukem 3D and he's been playing FPS online ever since.

Sometimes I feel a little pathetic for still being interested in video games but I grew up with them being a source of entertainment and don't see why I should pretend they don't exist. Playing video games has nothing to do with one's level of maturity or social skills, unless you choose to spend all your time doing it.

Re:Been gaming since the beginning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15145602)

The problem with video games is that after playing them for a while I feel like I have wasted my time. For example: recently I was given an original copy of Warcraft (the first one). I played it for around eight hours saturday night. After playing it I fet really guilty because I'd just wasted my entire afternoon with nothing to show for it.

There are so many other things that I could have done that would have been more productive. I could have made myself a nice cappucino and done the laundry, I could have taken my GF out to a movie. I could have brushed up on Python, I could have finally set up that OpenBSD shell server that I've been meaning to install... Etc...

But instead I just sat around playing a video game. What a waste. I'll never get that time back and I won't have another afternoon of eight hours free time for two or three weeks.

Re:Been gaming since the beginning (1)

smaffei (565629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15146395)

I really don't understand this mentality. If you enjoyed was it a waste of time? But, seriously, you should do all of the things you need to do before you grab that controller (or mouse in your case).

What I really want to know is how do you hold onto your GF when your clothes are stinky?

I dunno... (1)

sleeves (939679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15145947)

I started playing pinball in grade school, and video games seemed (and still seem) a natural progression for someone who enjoys hand-eye coordination games in a more controlled (and less judgemental) environment than was typical of the baseball and basketball jock-oriented team environments that were part of my youth.

I still enjoy playing FPS and sim games at 55. I'm not good ... but good enough to enjoy myself. I'd like to think that continued practice at realtime decision making is good mental exercise.. and I know for sure that it's a lot more fun than teaching myself French (which I also suck at).

I don't know if any of my peers also play.. I don't mention it, and assume they wouldn't either.

Excuse me.. Call of Duty 2 is beckoning...

Re:I dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15146683)

French is easy, first you say "bonjour".
then you insert "a-la" and "deja-vu" in
random sentence. to end a conversation
you say "Au revoir". if you dont whant
to talk that person again you can say
"bon voyage" or "a dieu".

Bonne chance.

Funny... (1)

NaeRey (944457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149349)

I'm 14 and I consider myself kind of 'stupid' for playing EnemyTerritory now, though I had played Freeciv and Doom3(rarely though) a year before... I pretty much quit playing games since last september... but saw that ET was ported on Linux so I tried it...
Most of my friends do play computer games now, but I still consider it 'not so good' to spend much time playing games...

*(NaeRey hides from the angry-looking crowd)*

In ~30 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15150596)

...I can guarantee you they'll be making videogame controllers for arthritics. At least, that's what I always tell people who give me grief over playing games at my age. I'm only 23 btw.

After that, I usually go into a long-winded rant about videogames as an emerging entertainment/artistic medium and then trail off into comic books.

Card games (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150692)

My 88 year old grandfather plays card games on his PC daily. What's the point of the article or the posting to slashdot? No he's not playing MMORPG's or first-person shooters, but he's on his PC playing a game, every day. Big deal.
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