So, a few months back I turned 30. Yup, I’ve been on this planet for three decades — I can feel my love of Wether’s Originals and porch-sitting increase by the day. I also, like many guys my age, still regularly play video games. A few grey hairs aren’t going to bust me and Mario apart dammit!
Here’s the thing though, and I think my fellow senior citizens can back me up on this one — once you start nearing the big three-oh, gaming starts to feel less satisfying than it once did. Yeah, studies have shown the average gamer is actually around 32, but for the most part gaming is still a hobby designed for teenagers. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be a gamer, but the following are some of the reasons I’ll probably never enjoy games as much as I did when I was 16…
There’s Not Enough Time
For years I had a real size obsession when it came to games — the longer a game promised it was on the back of the box the more excited I got. Hearing a game took less than 20-hours to beat was enough to immediately turn me off. Now, unless I have somebody paying me to finish a game quickly, a 20-hour game can take me weeks or even months to complete.
Taking that long to get through a game often really deadens its impact. You forget what you were doing last time you played, you’re always trying to re-familiarize yourself with the controls, and there’s no sense of momentum — you hit a hard spot and sometimes you end up stuck there for weeks. It would be like if you tried to watch an episode of Mad Men in 1-minute increments over the span of two months.
For maximum impact I think, ideally, you should try to beat most games in around 5-10 play sessions, but when you rarely have the opportunity to sit down for longer than an hour to play, that RPG is going to take you more like 40-50 sessions. I can only imagine how bad it will get once I actually become a for-real adult with kids and a house and all that stuff.
I Have Too Much Damn Money
Every new video game used to be something special. I remember carrying a 15-pound sack of change to K-Mart to buy Phantasy Star IV, the first game I ever bought entirely with my own money. Unsurprisingly Phantasy Star IV is still one of my top three favorite games of all time.
Now that I’m a grown-up person, 50 dollars is nothing. I spent 50 dollars on dinners I eat in 20-minutes all the time. The thrill of buying a game is gone. Instead of buying a game and playing the hell out of it until I’ve memorized every pixel, I have half-a-dozen games sitting around in a state of semi-completion. Worst of all, my mind has been permanently warped by the days when new games were so rare and special. My pile of half-finished games weighs on me — I spend more time feeling guilty about not giving them the attention they deserve than I do actually, you know, playing them.
Nobody Makes the Stuff I Like Anymore
My formative gaming years were during the late 80s and early 90s, so of course I love platformers, JRPGs, graphic adventure games and other stuff that was popular back then. Sadly those genres aren’t doing so hot these days.