I'm a gamer who hasn't "quite" made it to my mid-30's, but I AM basically there. I have a number of gaming systems in my house, a 360, a Wii, and a number of classic systems that date back to an old Sega Genesis. I have a circle of gaming friends that range in age from 29 to 37, playing all sorts of systems as well, right down to a Nintendo DS. Each has a very unique vision on what they like and don't, all equally diverse and interesting (and makes for some GREAT conversations too!).
I find that at our age, we have the real ability to play numerous different titles and still appreciate them the way we ALL took Super Mario World and played it too death. This year alone, I've completely played through the single player campaigns in at least a dozen or more titles, and halfway through on two dozen more, and I could still remember that "annoying jump" or "crazy combo" in each and every one of those titles as if it were memorized scripture and I were a devout catholic (heh). Do we appreciate games more at an older age? Or are we just able to take in more information with our more mature brains (even if in physical years only)? Having had this discussion with a few people, mostly my gaming crew, I think it's just we're a little bit older, and able to handle it a bit better. As a child, memories and experiences are so posterized that it seems like EVERYTHING was awesome or crap, with little or nothing in the middle, so we remember our first time playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on Christmas morning (I do, it was very... brown to me, but still AWESOME) and remember it as the most amazing experience in the world, but forget a game like A Boy and His Blob (recent recipient of it's own Wiiware game sequel) even if it was far more technically superior and advanced. Today we would appreciate it better and remember. Then we wouldn't.
Another thing that is a bit different about gaming as an adult in his 30's is the obvious lack of respect for it as an activity. We as 30 somethings now work with many people in their 40's and 50's and in my experience, it tends to be a subject that just isn't acceptable to be spoken of in a serious light by these age groups. Why? I could go through a dozen completely reasonable and politically correct reasons, but I'll distill them all down to one word that seemingly has lost it's lustre in todays "let's not hurt anyone's feelings" environment.
For people who just don't like gaming (there ARE one or two of you out there) you are excused. You've tried it, just wasn't into it, decided to stick your nose back in your book, and were done with it. That's fine. But the people who turn their nose up for the following reasons that they'll never admit to:
1. Do not understand it.
2. Never tried it because you do not understand it.
3. Never tried it for no other reason than to not try it.
4. Never tried it because games are for kids.
Or any reason that may fall under these blankets as they are too similar to mention, the word "ignorant" is for you. Someone might even call it flat out stupid. Gaming is an activity not unlike any other. It's something that requires thought, skill, and time. It's something people will like, whether you admit it or not. Don't kick it till you try it, and don't be afraid to look stupid doing it (have you ever seen someone playing Wii Tennis? Dear God...) because you know what? Looking down your long noses and calling it childish looks even DUMBER. It's no different than someone like me who doesn't like to read. I find it dull. But I've read lots of books so I'm allowed to have an opinion on it. Have you played even 1 game? Or just watched your kid play it and turned your nose up?
We are all allowed to not like things. We are all different, have different tastes. But being ignorant to it, gaming being what we're discussing today (as this is a games blog) is flat out wrong. Don't point your finger and reject. Don't even stay in the room. Leave, and go be an idiot somewhere else.
Next on topic: a fun thing! Let's talk a game that not many people have liked but I grew fond of in the couple of weeks it took me to finish: Terminator: Salvation.
This is a fast paced game that can be considered Gears of War: Lite. It uses very similar controls and visuals, carries the same 3rd person angle, etc. It took me about 4.5 to 5 hours to finish but apparently I'm below the curve on that one (I suck at shooters). I have to say I enjoyed this NOT for the basic shooting aspect of the game, or the same 5 badguys showing up every so often (although if I recall, there weren't THAT many bad dudes in the T-whatever series) but because I felt like I was playing a fast paced movie. There was some variation with levels, a high octane vehicle chase, a level where you were supposed to run rather than shoot, a standard shoot, you know. But I can say I enjoyed it start to finish and had the same sort of satisfaction I had from coming out of a cheesy 80's action movie. It was fun. It wasn't perfect. It occupied me for a few hours, let's move on. :)
Next game: Halo Wars. Another example of a decent game that really needs a mouse and keyboard. Come ON Microsoft, you already have USB ports in your console, GIVE US A MOUSE AND KEYBOARD. Hell, charge twice as much as the standard stuff, people will still buy the shit. (You are getting away with highway robbery with Wireless adaptors, so you know the business model works!)
The game was a laugh. Took about 7 or so hours to complete the campaign (once again, I was below the curve on that one) and there's some muliplayer stuff that I might poke at for the achievements. I can't say it enough though (nor can anyone else apparently) that this game needed the mouse and Keyboard to truly soar.
Anyway, as I ramble on, let's review so I can get back to work.
1. Gaming for 30-somethings is different, acceptable, and a little more involved than when we were kids. Just because people say a game sucks doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. And...
This is my blog so I say so. :D
Not the sharpest tool in the shed but not the dullest either.