Those people who began their video gaming obsession back in the ’80s or ’90s are getting old. And, with the passage of time, things change: you might now be cash rich but time poor (or vice versa); your reflexes, once lightning quick, now struggle to keep up; hand-eye coordination isn’t so sharp; senses become dulled; energy levels slump. It’s a sad fact of life, and we’ve highlighted ten ways your gaming tastes might have altered as you broach that middle age hump…
1. 4K seems a waste of time
If you do your gaming in front of a PC monitor you’ve probably been doing this for a while, but in the living room ultra-high-def gaming is now all the rage. Well, it is among those who can appreciate the difference; many older gamers can hardly tell 4K from standard HD. From the comfort of your sofa it’s all a soft blur, thanks to aging eyes’ built-in anti-aliasing. Of course this does save you the expense of having to upgrade your TV.
2. Menus are all illegible
Again, if you prefer playing slumped on the sofa, chances are the endless stat-filled menus and HUDs of today’s games are practically illegible from ten feet away. It’s fine for the designers who created them on a high-res display two feet from their faces, but try reading all that six-point text with tired eyes late at night. However, the money you saved on a 4K TV you can spend on a small gaming chair for the middle of the living room.
3. You’re all about the ‘single player’
As you get older, slower reactions and a lower patience threshold, the idea of being repeatedly pwned by mouthy youngsters in, well, pretty much any online FPS, suddenly doesn’t appeal very much. Where does that punchy 14-year-old from Idaho get off telling you how you should be playing? You’re an experienced middle manager with a mortgage and a receding hairline. Oh well, time to break out something more sedate…
4. Turn-based strategy is more your pace
Having decided that any Twitch-based competitive play is now a thing of the past, an old gamer might move to turn-based gaming. The cerebral delights of Civilization or XCOM are surely better suited to your style of play: considered, thoughtful, and with time for a small nap between goes.
5. Gadgets don’t cut it any more
Anything that diverges from the comfy chair/joypad/display setup feels just like too much effort for an old gamer. Despite the promise of its immersive worlds, VR is just too much faff. And anything with motion controls would mean standing or, worse still, burning valuable calories moving your limbs around. And, based on point (4), you won’t be needing that mic and headphones setup any more…
6. ‘Normal’ is the new ‘Difficult’
There was once a time when you’d scoff at the ‘Normal’ setting and immediately plump for ‘Difficult’ to test your superior gaming skills. These days you’re more than happy to play on Normal, knowing that ‘Easy’ is always there for any particularly tricky bits (hey, I’ve paid for the game, I want to see all of it, okay?). Similarly the mere idea of playing on the ‘Nightmare’ difficulty mode makes you break out in a cold sweat.
7. That New Game Plus is a joke, right?
You’ve already put in more than 100 hours, broken one joypad and had a series of heated discussions with your significant other about your language. And now Ubisoft is adding a New Game Plus mode to Assassin’s Creed: Origins so you can do it all again but with the opportunity of a more frequent death. Sorry, but no amount of new cutscenes or cosmetic items is worth the grief. Once is enough.
8. Retro gaming isn’t how you remember it
With modern gaming an impenetrable sea of slang, weird acronyms and online emergent persistent worlds inhabited by ninja-skilled youths, as an old gamer you might choose to return to the warm comfort of the 8-bit era. After all that’s where you learned your craft.
Times were simpler back then; no multiplayer hassle or skill trees, just high score chases and simple game mechanics. Only it turns out that the majority of retro games are not only a bit tedious, but surprisingly, painfully, teeth-grindingly difficult. And repetitive. Time to break out Assassin’s Creed.
9. The horror, the horror…
You’re stressed at work, there are endless money pressures, and the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. So the last thing you want is to put yourself through the wringer in the latest grisly, near-photoreal gothic horror-survival game. There was a time when you and your mates would enjoy a drunken night in front of the latest Resident Evil… Now you don’t even like going down a darkened corridor in Wolfenstein II for fear of a sleepless night.
10. The games backlog just keeps growing
Despite everything, you still love gaming; they can have your controller when they can prise it from your cold, dead hands. So every birthday and Christmas, you still get the family to add the latest AAA title to your collection. But you never finish one game in time to play the next one. There are seven games on your shelf, two still shrink-wrapped and the rest of them in various states of completion. You can’t bear to trade in Fallout 4, but in your heart of hearts, you know you’ll never find your son among the dreary wastes of post-apocalyptic Boston.
Curse you, time… Curse you!