Aging Gamers

First, the gushiness, I have two adorable children.  If you’re a parent, you have the same problem I do.  Children make you feel old and out of touch, like you’re 2 steps behind the pack.  It’s an effort to be at the same pace they are since every generation moves at a quicker pace than the last.  Which brings me to this post which has been simmering in the back of my mind for some time now.

In general, the blogging generation is older.  Few people take the time to sit down and write something down that has more than 140 characters or isn’t a cut and paste from somewhere else.  I tell people I write a blog and most think that’s quaint, as if I was writing an op-ed piece in the newspaper (which is my reaction to those who do just that).  Being older brings with it a sense of nostalgia and entitlement.  Things were better back then and gosh darn it, I put in my time and I deserve something better.  You know why they don’t make cars with carburetors anymore?  EFI is better.  It’s the same reason that you need to be 40+ to own any car with a carb, today’s generation simply never knew it existed.

Gaming isn’t much different.  There are quite a few blogs out there that mourn the loss of gaming of old and put out such amazing pieces of hyperbole that you’d think Chicken Little was at the keyboard.  While I appreciate dissenting views, sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder what planet these people are on.  Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2, Ni No Kuni and Tomb Raider are recent examples of near perfect gaming, each embodying a particular facet of their genre and shining it to golden luster.  The difference is that these games aren’t designed for us (the older folk), they are designed for the core gaming audience, the low to mid 20s.  They might have features we like but their targets are much different.

Ni No Kuni is a great example.  This is Pokémon meets JRPG/FF13 combat, with a sprinkle of Tales story telling.  The individual elements are all fairly recent, the cutesy characters aren’t meant for realism but the whole of the game, the final package, is just pure fun.

MMOs aren’t much different.  For the vast majority of MMO players, their first game was World of Warcraft.  UO, EQ, DAOC, AC – it all means bunk to them.  Bygones of a forgotten era.  Heck, I played AD&D for years before version 3 came out.  By the time 4 came out, no one really remembered what THAC0 meant anymore.  MMOs today are simply not designed for the people who played those first games.  The originals were not built on gameplay, they were built on social structures for people who had 4-6 hours to invest in one session.  You’re kidding yourself if you think there is an infinite pool of those types of players.  They are all already playing some game and invested in it.  You think Blood Legion (a hardcore WoW raiding guild) has the time to play another MMO for 30 hours a week?  You think they are going to drop years of investment in a game for another one with 10% of the content?

Today’s gaming generation plays short sessions with quick rewards.  Their lives move at an incredible pace and they have other things to do.  They certainly won’t sit for 4 hours a night in front of a computer and wipe continuously on a boss for 2 weeks.  I daresay they aren’t the crazy ones.  I certainly don’t have the time to commit to that with kids in the house.  I barely have time to commit to one 2 hour session a week, especially if it’s in my own house.

As aging gamers, perhaps it’s just time to take a backseat to the sky-is-falling attitudes and simply enjoy the fun games that we do get to play.  There are plenty of them out there and I bet for most of us, we don’t even have time to play half of them.

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