Grumpy Gamer: Getting Old Sucks

Posted Tue, Mar 04, 2014 by gunky

Grumpy Gamer: Getting Old Sucks

Okay, so the cat's out of the bag: I'm probably a lot older than most of you reading this. I'm older than a lot of the other TenTonHammer writers. Not all of them, but a distressingly large percentage of them. How old? Well, I remember coming home from school one day, hoping to sit down in front of the TV to watch some after-school cartoons, only to be disappointed because all the regularly-scheduled programming was pre-empted by news about Ronald Reagan getting shot. I remember being the biggest Michael Jackson fan in 3rd Grade, and how excited I was when my dad brought home the new Thriller album... on vinyl (and not because we were hipsters - CDs hadn't been invented yet). I saw the Empire Strikes Back at the drive-in. If you need something more precise than that: today was my 40th birthday. There was no cake - fire marshal didn't approve.

Grumpy Gamer - sad cat birthday

As a gamer, aging kind of blows. My 40-year-old back isn't all springy and taut, and sitting in a desk chair for hours at a time isn't doing it any favors. My 40-year-old innards do... interesting things when I don't eat regular meals, or when I flood my body with caffeinated beverages for weekend marathons. I'm now at the age where being sedentary is probably just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

But these are only physical considerations, most of which could be easily remedied by better diet and exercise habits. You young'uns out there, take note and do a sit-up every now and then.

The real thing that makes aging suck for gamers is the mental changes. No, not dementia. Shut up.

Cynicism is a big part of it. As you get older, you learn more about the world and the people in it. The brain never stops learning, even if it really wants to because the things it learns start to make it angry and sad all the time. Youthful idealism gets replaced by jaded skepticism, and eventually becomes a constant simmer of dull rage. It has for me, anyway.

Grumpy Gamer Getting Old - Louis CK

In one sense, this works well for MMOs. Older gamers, who can filter out the drama and BS and focus on a task without dosing up with Adderall first, can be monstrously-gifted raid leaders and strategists. They have a wealth of experience and the wisdom to handle the social engineering aspects. Charismatic kids might be fine guild leaders - they can put asses in the seats and keep people interested - but the seasoned older guys are the ones you want leading you into battle. 

The wisdom that comes with great age is a double-edged sword, though. It gives us great clarity, but it also allows us to recognize that a lot these things we are seeing are... kinda bullshit. We can see through a game's big-boobed female elves and flashy graphics to see the fundamentally awful gameplay beneath, and it makes us hate the game more than we want to. Social interactions in the games become increasingly transparent and, as a result, more difficult to keep pleasant. The greater the clarity, the deeper the cynicism. 

Grumpy Gamer Getting Old - Seniors playing games

A good friend of mine wished me "40 more years of grumpy gaming" on Facebook today, adding, "By then it's time for a new hobby!" Hogwash! I haven't grown out of this "hobby" yet. I know a few senior-citizen MMO gamers, and they're excellent people to play with. As grumpy as I might be, I'm doing what I love - playing games and trolling the internets - and if I can still be doing that when I'm 80, that's awesome.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go do the traditional mid-life birthday thing: drink a glass of brandy, stare thoughtfully into a fire and contemplate my inevitable death. And then maybe find out when the next Elder Scrolls beta event will be.

Welcome to the 40+ club ;) Just remember, we have cookies and booze.

Youngster. I'm 49 and gaming strong.


To celebrate you birthday properly you must sit down and listen to Alice Cooper's "Eighteen."

Then sitting in front of that fire contemplate that the changes have been:

1. More lines form on your face and hands and will not stop despite your efforts. You have accepted this and no longer care.

2. What you thought was the middle was actually the middle of the opening act. Your plans have been thwarted numerous times and you have had to make new ones.

3. You're not a boy anymore, hence the back and digestive issues.

4. You know what you want, most of the time. The biggest problem is figuring out how to get it. Thus your wants have become more realistic and you scoff at the absurd wants of those who are closer to being eighteen.

5. You don't want to get out of any place now, you want everyone else to get out.

6. You know what you're talking about and you do not doubt it. You do doubt that anyone else knows what they are talking about most of the time.

7. You still get confused every day, but mostly at a reaction to other people who don't know what they are talking about. When you don't know what to say it's often because you are so perplexed by the illogical conversation of those people that it seems impossible to find a starting point.

8. You really are in the middle of life now, you're 40..... and god help you, you actually like it! Deep down you know you really love being this age, except the medical issues, but you see the trade off as a fair one for not being one of those n00bs anymore.

And you have earned the right to yell at the kids and yell "GET OFF MY LAWN, N00BS!"

Thank you for the supportive words, folks. Cheers!

50 year old female gamer here. I was plopping quarters into the arcade before YOU were born! Look into The Oldtimers Guild if you're looking for the more.. *cough* mature crowd. I'll soon be teaching my great niece to game. I hope!

Yes, you can fight cynicism but I like to think I actually enjoy games more now than I used too. I enjoy the talent and skill it took to bring me the games I enjoy. Having grouped with older gamers leaves out a very large portion of the social drama that kids enjoy so much, so I can reflect upon my last death and figure out how to defeat the whipper snapper of a developer that just killed me. I'm a glass half full lady and it's something I work at every day. I'll be gaming in the old folks home, see you there!

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