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Video games, will you still love me when I’m 64?

Another year, another birthday – that’s life. There’s no avoiding it; it just happens. A certain day goes by and poof!, suddenly you’re one whole year older than the day before.  My birthday is still several months away, but it’s an unsettling one with terrible thoughts of MID-LIFE CRISIS AHEAD looming in the back of my mind. But throwing personal messes aside, this year has really had me questioning my future with video games. Not questioning their perceptual existence in my life but questioning the role that they will fulfill in the future.

Here’s the thing: I’m not as singularly-focus, strong-willed, or mindfully dexterous now as I was in my twenties. Back then, when I was playing games nearly every day for an hour or two, that’s ALL I was doing during those hours. I was fully absorbed in the games because I didn’t need to think of much else. As long as the rent was paid and I had enough money to by food, life was good. Things weren’t complicated. Games gave me a chance to really delve into a story  or time to really learn a special set of moves. When I was playing games then, everything else in life fell away. I used games to craft my ability to focus on getting a task or group of tasks done. Games helped me become goal-oriented and shifted my mindset toward the here and now rather than the far off future.

Life today is nowhere near as simple.

Now-a-days, life is very fragmented and my focus is frequently torn in many directions all at once. I can’t multitask to save my life, and when I’m trying to hone in on finishing a single task, other needs constantly poke at my sides. I’d call games my “escape” if that were really true, but there’s no escaping the distractions. And if anything, games now are little more than another diversion, albeit the fun kind. I use games now to take my mind off of everything else, which, admittedly, sometimes comes at the price of putting off things that absolutely need to get done.

But wait!, you decry. Everyone deserves their entertainments! There’s no more crime in playing two hours of South Park: The Stick of Truth than there is in watching a two hour movie!  And you are correct. We all not only deserve but require downtime in life to help recharge. Unfortunately, when the daily grind turns into utter exhaustion, more often than not these days, I find that I want to spend my downtime sleeping rather than doing something productive like playing a video game cleaning out the garage. Honestly, playing a game for more than an hour lately feels so incredibly indulgent that I can’t help but feel guilty afterwards. I mean, there’s a little bit of accomplishment in there, but mostly just guilt. That’s not to say I’m going to stop, because the life of a noble monk is not a life for plebeian me, but I am very aware that the role of games in my life has changed quite vividly in recent years.

Which brings me to the future thinking alluded to in the title of this blog post. Games then were my grounding force. Games now are mostly pleasant diversions from life’s toils. Games in the future will be…? If only I knew. I’d like to honestly think that they’ll come back round to being fundamental, but I’ve really no idea. Undoubtedly and in far-away times, I plan to join the ranks of senior citizens who play video games, and maybe they’ll help me stay spry and lucid. Maybe they’ll propel activity and new interests. Or maybe, just maybe, with extra time on my hands and fewer cares in the world (or so I’d like to think), I’ll be playing video games just for fun.


Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday. You can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play and United We Game


14 thoughts on “Video games, will you still love me when I’m 64?”

  1. My plan — seriously — is that once I retire I’m going to start a guild for old people in whatever the hot MMO is. We will roll around during all hours, harassing newbies for their lunch money and trolling trade chat with our “back in the day” stories. It’s gonna be rad.

  2. This all seems familiar… I find time to game and it sits on pause while I finish those last few things on the todo list; except the list is never-ending. So now I have a todo list for trophies, too!

    1. Haha, that sounds about right! Awhile ago I started keeping track of things in games I wanted to complete, but that became a chore in and of itself. Gaming should *never* be a chore, so I gave it up. I’ll take incomplete games over that any day!

      1. You know, there’s a research going on, funded by the gov’t , that has seniors playing video games everyday to find out if playing will improve mental ability, dexterity, and anything positive associated with playing games. The result has been very positive, so much so that this research group now recommends that seniors play video games to exercise their mental abilities.

      2. I didn’t know that, but cool! It makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it? I mean, great games makes you both think and act (hopefully in meaningful ways), so why not use them to maintain mental acuity, no matter your age! The media so likes to pick up on the negativity surrounding games, and their many positive aspects end up ignored. Sure, the seniors playing video games on YouTube are popular and people find therm funny, but maybe there’s more there than just fun and games.

  3. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Ah, the joys and trials of being an aging gamer. Shoot, just being a regular gamer is challenging enough! Add on heaps of “adult responsibilities” and “time commitments,” and well, it become damn near impossible for some of us (i.e. me) to squeeze in some precious game time. Yet someday, I shall all rest comfortably on that cloud called Retirement (maybe, if I’m lucky), and perhaps then and there those beloved days of gaming without limits will return. And maybe games will become fun again. Gaming simply to game? Now there’s the ticket. Hop the train to Geek Force Network and read on, my friends, read on.

    1. It certainly does. Though, we all learn well enough how to integrate a variety of tasks into our lives, and gaming can easily be one of them. It just that it’s often not *the most important* thing (sadly).

  4. I’m actually worried! Most of my favorite games are very action-intensive, and I’m afraid I’ll have to change my tastes or quit gaming altogether once I grow older. Hopefully my body will be able to keep up with my gaming tastes once I’m 60, 70, 80.

    1. Yeah, I kinda doubt I’ll be scouring virtual worlds and shooting bad guys when old age sets in. (As long as my fingers work, I’ll be pointing-and-clicking with the best of them.) But you never know. As VR technology gets better and cheaper, maybe we’ll be able to enjoy our favorite action games forever and ever!

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