Middle-Aged Gamers

Middle-Aged Gamers

Middle-aged players are no longer the noobs.

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*ahem* Gentlemen?

I turn 41 in a fortnight.

I've played well enough to be banned from a server for "Cheating".

My twitch skills may be on the decline, but I'm much sneakier.

Currently middle aged people never were "the noobs". As if video games wrre just invented 5 years ago.

I'm 34 and I grew up with the NES. People in my age group aren't just now discovering games, jumping on a bandwagon or clinging to our youth. We are the reason video games are as big as they are today.

Is marketing the reason we feel the need to categorize everyone nowadays? Where's the need to know what older gamers play come from? Can't we just accept that people play the kind of game they enjoy, no matter their age, race, gender or economic status? Why do we have to have games for old people, young people, adolescent male, young adult female? Perhaps I'm a little touchy on this subject since I play the kind of games I'm not supposed to play and am tired of being considered a freak or anomoly. I can see differentiating games based on sexual or violent content for little kids, but once a person reaches adulthood I'm assuming they play whatever they consider fun.

ferd mertz:
Currently middle aged people never were "the noobs". As if video games wrre just invented 5 years ago.

I'm 34 and I grew up with the NES. People in my age group aren't just now discovering games, jumping on a bandwagon or clinging to our youth. We are the reason video games are as big as they are today.

i completely agree with you there. im 38 and i still remember playing pong back in the day, pumping 20c into arcade machines to play space invaders and arcade star wars..

50 does seem to be a cut off point ive found for alot of people when it comes to games, i guess its a case of not growing up as a teenager with them could have a lot to do with it. that said my uncle is 64 and currently has my laptop so he can play doom, crusader no remorse and C&C3

3AM:
Is marketing the reason we feel the need to categorize everyone nowadays? Where's the need to know what older gamers play come from? Can't we just accept that people play the kind of game they enjoy, no matter their age, race, gender or economic status? Why do we have to have games for old people, young people, adolescent male, young adult female? Perhaps I'm a little touchy on this subject since I play the kind of games I'm not supposed to play and am tired of being considered a freak or anomoly. I can see differentiating games based on sexual or violent content for little kids, but once a person reaches adulthood I'm assuming they play whatever they consider fun.

well said.. very well said and i completely agree with you.. as a female who is 38 the weird looks i get when i say i like turn based stategy and simulators is disturbing to say the least.. people like what they like .. get over it people

nikki191:
as a female who is 38 the weird looks i get when i say i like turn based stategy and simulators is disturbing to say the least..

I think that's more a gender issue there. Female gamers in our generation (also 38 here) who've been at it since they were nippers are far less common than male gamers who've been at it since they were anklebiters... especially as you enjoy genres usually considered the domain of grognards and grumpy curmudgeons.

First off, if you are in your forties, then you are young enough to not be intimidated by technology, and if you are older, and reading this, then you are not intimidated either.

My first console had two knobs and it was called Pong. Then the Atari 2600, C-64, SNES, PC, and Xbox 360.

I'm an avid gamer at 44, and plan to keep on gaming.

I'm all for casual games, motion control, mobile gaming, and Facebook games. Anything that expands the ranks of the demographic we can call "gamers" is good. For me, though, I need a trigger and ammo. Rage is my next big game. I'm playing a lot of Borderlands, Fallout: New Vegas, Team Fortress, and Civ 5 these days.

I also like to fall back on classics like Alpha Centauri, Dungeon Keeper, and Doom.

I own a 360, and I prefer it for sports, racing, and GTA style third person play. I have a powerhouse PC where 100% of my First Person Shooter action happens, as well turn based and real time strategy gaming.

Sadly, MS Word and Excel get a lot of "play" too... But that's a function of getting older I guess :-)

I sometimes feel like there's already a divide between me and younger gamers. In fact I know there is. I can't define its boundaries but attitudes definitely differ between people who started playing games in this generation or the last, from what I can see, and those who started playing a long time ago. I started with the Sega Mega Drive and at the tender age of 20 I already feel like a lot of the juvenile "maturity" in games today is piling up.

But I won't let that get to me and, having been gaming for 15 years, I intend to stick with my hobby well into my middle-age.

I have to agree with many of the posters, Dr. Kline's entry really misses the mark. Saying we middle aged gamers didn't grow up with computers and therefore will be uncomfortable with them. That we are now just finding games? What is that? I'm 39. Which is middle-aged. The average age is not 100, so 50 is not middle aged. And the people who are middle aged now, they are the first generation to grow up with personal computers and with arcade video games and home consoles. This isn't new to us. This is what we grew up with.

His post that we old-timers will like Angry Birds and Solitaire because it isn't too hard for us to learn? What is that? We are the gaming generation and we are playing all sorts of games.

Do we middle aged gamers have issues specific to our age? Yes...but Klein wasn't really able to address them. Sure he mentioned lessening of twich reflexes, but that is not that big of a deal. I think the main thing that middle aged gamers have to deal with is that despite the fact that the average age of a gamer is 37, it still has the perception of being a kid's game. Middle aged male gamers are portrayed as being man-children who have stunted growth and not proper romantic choices regularly by the media. I've seen it in Cosmo, I've seen in on TV. Over and over, women are given love advice such as: "Ladies, if your man plays video games, dump him!" These sets of advice set up the idea 1) that women don't play video games (they do), and 2) video gaming is something you grow out of and there is something pathological about being an adult gamer.

Another issue for adult gamers is getting time to play. Luckily I'm single and don't have kids, so my free time is my own...well, to be honest my free time belongs to a book I'm writing so I can get tenure...but I do try to get in gaming when I can. Though sometimes I only get to play once every 2-3 weeks. My friends with kids have even less time to play. Add on top of that they like to play mature games, and can't do that when the kids are awake. The time crunch is big issue for the middle aged gamers.

So, stigma and time, are two big middle aged specific issues I'd say...not the utter inability for Klein's 40 year old to understand the internet.

As a side note. While I'm a heavy-ish gamer who loves my 360, I don't play on Live. When I am playing on Live I am only playing with my other 40 year old friends. When I was playing WoW very heavily, I ended up being in guilds with people who were also my age. So...while I am a gamer and know lots and lots of gamers, I interact very rarely with younger gamers. As a matter of fact it sort of shocked me how young the Escapist demographic has become. I don't think it's a bad thing...I just sort of thought younger folks weren't as into gaming somehow.

I'm in my mid-20s and find my ass getting kicked by older players a lot in competitive multiplayer games. Whether this is because they have trained their reflexes to be faster at the game or have greater natural talent than I, or just have superb decision-making skills based on experience--I'm not sure.

I've asked parties in lobbies and across boards how old they are and it's always older than I would think. If it's a team-based game, you will find age groups tend to flock together, with the tweens staying in pairs of 2-5 while the highschoolers and people my age have a rough circle of about 7 to 10. Players age 28 or older tend to either play alone or travel in giant packs like Tusken Raiders, annihilating enemy teams with almost military precision and 10 to 16 or more friends.

That isn't to say there aren't child prodigies that couldn't sweep a bunch of adults, but the rule of thumb is that if you're going up against greyhairs, prepare to be knocked around the block.

I hope the young whippersnappers of the Escapist don't start a thread telling everyone to go listen to the cranky old people bitch in this thread. Anyway, who says we don't know the internet? Baby, I was there when Al Gore invented the damn thing! (I also know what a DARPA is).

I'm turning 37 in october, and I've been gaming since I was 6.

Also, I have a youtube channel full of beastly gameplay footage.
My APM has dropped, though .. from 350 down to 290 .. but thankfully, I'm not playing Terran in Broodwar anymore.
You only need about 80 APM in SC2 to be really good.

I'm 19 so i'm kinda in the middle of what people call the "young" and the "old" gamers.

Personally i'd rather play with people who are more experienced. I've never thought someone who was older than me was weird for gaming. I think that awesome, and i kinda wish my own dad would have paid any attention to video games.

Just look at this guy

A little off-putting, but still great.

Well, my dad is about 50 and he's the one that introduced me to gaming. Hell, he used to make Doom maps for fun.

The_root_of_all_evil:
*ahem* Gentlemen?

I turn 41 in a fortnight.

I've played well enough to be banned from a server for "Cheating".

My twitch skills may be on the decline, but I'm much sneakier.

funny you should say that. i'm 40, my twitch skills defiantly went into decline to the point it put me off online FPSs even though i used to play UT competitively but give me a slightly slower paced online game where i can be a sneaky bastard (like say World of Tanks) and i more than make up for it :D (mind you just about anything is actually slower than UT nowadays lol)

3AM:
Is marketing the reason we feel the need to categorize everyone nowadays? Where's the need to know what older gamers play come from? Can't we just accept that people play the kind of game they enjoy, no matter their age, race, gender or economic status? Why do we have to have games for old people, young people, adolescent male, young adult female? Perhaps I'm a little touchy on this subject since I play the kind of games I'm not supposed to play and am tired of being considered a freak or anomoly. I can see differentiating games based on sexual or violent content for little kids, but once a person reaches adulthood I'm assuming they play whatever they consider fun.

its a nice theoretical ideal but consider this argument: the article suggest that both "the average age of game players today is 37" and that "Some of us have slower reflexes and fewer "actions per minute"" and yet the games the big publishers push the hardest are the likes of Modern Warfare, COD and BF3 and their "twitch" reliant online play.

if both of those assertions hold some water (and personally i think they probably do) then someone somewhere is severely missing the opportunity to develop and market online games taking into account a truly vast market segment of ageing gamers and their equally ageing abilities.

one can assume if they did they might sell more games and more games (because of spillover) is generally better for everyone.

besides virtually every other media is aimed in some way i see no reason why games should be any different.

there will always be some spillover and we all still get a slice of cake one way or another from a far wider menu.

i also pretty much agree with what trooper6 said. i've been playing video games since i was 5 (that's 35 years Doc !) and im certainly no stranger to the internet having plumbed its depths practically since it was first publicly available.

again this seems symptomatic of the massive general blindside to a huge chunk of a generation that has grown up with these things as a completely valid entertainment medium alongside any other.

ferd mertz:

I'm 34 and I grew up with the NES. People in my age group aren't just now discovering games, jumping on a bandwagon or clinging to our youth. We are the reason video games are as big as they are today.

Damn straight.

While a decade your junior(Turn 24 in a month), I got an original gameboy when I was 4 and have been hooked ever since. I was completing games before I was properly able to read. Its the biggest commitment I've made to anything in my entire life, and I seriously doubt I'm stopping any time soon.

I do agree with the article in one sense though, I'm good at games these days because I've been playing them for two decades, I wouldn't like to be starting into gaming now... My other half has a brother turning 11 in a month, and he's getting a ps3 for his birthday and is pretty keen to get into playing cod with his friends... All discussions about age appropriateness aside, I would NOT want to jump into gaming with Call of friggin Duty.

Also, I'm pleasantly surprised by the ages popping up here I have to say.

34 here almost 35, and have to say that since I got my 48k Sinclair spectrum eons ago, Google it if you donīt know what it is :), I almost don't care about anything more then games, I say almost :).
But still playing a average 3 or 4 hours, or more :) per day, I still have time to work and even got a girlfriend, and all that social stuff they say you donīt have because you play to much games!!!
And you know what, I might not be more patience or more friendly then when I was younger, but i still love games like it was the first day, and ever will If possible.
But the major difference I get now is that, at least for me, is now harder now to focus heavy in one game,that was 5 or 6 years ago.
The rest is the same ,but I am almost exclusively PC gamer only got the consoles until PlayStation 2 and psp never got any after that.

Oh, I want to add one thing. You know what is great about being an adult gamer? I can afford to buy what I want.

I remember being a kid, going to the gaming store and gazing lovingly at all the table-top RPG books there...and not being able to afford any. Just one or two, here and there. I remember being an undergrad college student and not being able to afford a computer or console of my own. I remember being a grad student and by then I was making enough to have a computer and a console and to be able to afford games...but I still mostly bought used games and only a few major new games. And now that I have an actual job? If I want to buy Deus Ex:HR? I can. It is awesome.

For us older gamers, when talking about younger gamers we mean the "playstation generation". To me this is where modern console gaming started, with both it's positives and negatives.

I guess it is a matter of perspective. I don't doubt there are many experienced middle aged gamers who have been at it a long time. It makes sense that many of these would be involved with The Escapist. I live and work in a very different environment. Some of my peers and colleagues can barely use email. I know of many folks who came to gaming late in life and have faced some of the challenges I described--I am one of them.

ferd mertz:
Currently middle aged people never were "the noobs". As if video games wrre just invented 5 years ago.

I'm 34 and I grew up with the NES. People in my age group aren't just now discovering games, jumping on a bandwagon or clinging to our youth. We are the reason video games are as big as they are today.

Exactly. Although I think mid-30's is as late as that goes, most over 40's still haven't grown up with video games. I'm in my late 20's and love to play games when I get the time.

Ulquiorra4sama:
I'm 19 so i'm kinda in the middle of what people call the "young" and the "old" gamers.

Personally i'd rather play with people who are more experienced. I've never thought someone who was older than me was weird for gaming. I think that awesome, and i kinda wish my own dad would have paid any attention to video games.

Just goes to show you that its all about your perspective. Trust me, you are still firmly on the young side of that equation.

nikki191:

3AM:
Is marketing the reason we feel the need to categorize everyone nowadays? Where's the need to know what older gamers play come from? Can't we just accept that people play the kind of game they enjoy, no matter their age, race, gender or economic status? Why do we have to have games for old people, young people, adolescent male, young adult female? Perhaps I'm a little touchy on this subject since I play the kind of games I'm not supposed to play and am tired of being considered a freak or anomoly. I can see differentiating games based on sexual or violent content for little kids, but once a person reaches adulthood I'm assuming they play whatever they consider fun.

well said.. very well said and i completely agree with you.. as a female who is 38 the weird looks i get when i say i like turn based stategy and simulators is disturbing to say the least.. people like what they like .. get over it people

shame on you! you should be into sex and the city, and ummm....GIRL things....

haha anyway yeah, it can be pretty surprising when you find out somone is a gamer, and they are FAR from the steryotype

I am 35 and my generation does not look at gamers in a positive light (overall). They don't understand it. Most people my age didn't have access to computers or if they did it was seen as a way to work better not to play better. Many did have the NES but that was seen as a toy for kids. So when I spent my teen years playing MUDs, NES, SNES and spending all of my money at the arcades I was not well received except by other gamers. Now I can't go to get coffee without hearing people talk about games. It is a nice change. It is also nice to see the quality of games increasing. I know there are many complaints about games but overall the games of this generation are so much better and they are cheaper in comparison. As games get more accepted and less expensive the types of people playing them will also increase.

I am 62 (female) and I love playing games! I get the sort of 'should know better at your age' look when asked what I'm playing! Why do people assume because I'm older, I should stick to Hidden Object and puzzle games for the PC! We have always had one or the other 'Game Consoles' in our house, hell, I still have a PS1 and PS2! Always handy to have around when your PS3 isn't backwards compatible! Having played Red Dead Redemption (SP & MP) then Batman: Arkham Asylum, I am now 'swinging' round Arkham City (and I sure do love beating up all the bad guys!!) I class it as Therapy, because using a PS3 controller keeps my Arthritic hands moving all the time, and stops them ceasing up!

 

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