Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My name is mbp and I am a...a ...a... graymer

I am 48 years old and I love playing video games. Over the last few weeks I have spent an inordinate amount of time playing and enjoying  Ground Control (2000) , Nox (2000) and  Battle for Middle Earth (2004). Clearly I fall into the nostalgic older gamer (graymer) category that Tadgh Kelly talks about in this insightful post.

To be fair to Tadhg (pronounced like "Tie" with a hard g at the end) he doesn't accuse older gamers of being nostalgically myopic but Tobold does when he draws the link between graymers and the current boom in retro kickstarter games.

I can only speak for myself of course but nostalgia alone is not enough to convince me to spend many hours playing a game. I tend to agree with Tadhg's position that age and experience make us more selective in our gaming. When I consider that in addition to those oldies I have also spent a lot of time playing the more recent titles "FTL" and "Dark Souls" it seems to me that the real common thread is my search for a more challenging gaming experience. My age and gaming history allow me to overlook fancy graphics and current fashion trends in order to enjoy games both old and new that provide me that challenge.

Tadgh suggests that the aging gamer market is under-served but I am not sure how it could be better served.  It is true that the hundred's of millions of marketing dollars spend on "Medal of Duty, Master Chief  Modern Warfighter"  are largely wasted as far as this relatively wealthy segment of the gaming market is concerned but we are a segment that does not respond well to hype in any case. We have seen it all before and are far more likely to respond to a clever indie game that is recommended by someone whose opinion we trust. In this light the boom in retro/indie/kickstarter gaming means we are very well served, particularly when you take into account the enormous back catalogue of older games that are also available now for next to nothing. We graymers don't even have to forgo the cinematic pleasures of "Medal of Duty, Master Chief Modern Warfighter" but I personally will wait a few months until I can pick it up in a sale.

Truly for someone of my gaming generation this is a golden age of gaming.


Gankalicious said...

I agree- this is a wonderful age. I know the 'I remember when' really dates me (42) but I do remember when there were very few games to choose from (at the local store of course because the internet hadn't bloody well been invented) and they were all very expensive ($50-$70). Now we are literally spoiled for choice and game prices have finally come down thanks to the rise in indie games.

Eutheos said...

A 33-year-old strongly agrees! I am having so much trouble finding a non-stupid game to play nowadays :(

mbp said...

@Eutheos there are hundred of "non-stupid games" to play as long as you are prepared to accept non-state of the art graphics and shift away from AAA titles a little.

Here are some recent examples:
Dark Souls (my current addiction, bastard hard)
FTL (simple but brilliant)
Space Chem (very cerebral)
Dragon Age or its Sequel
Skyrim of course

And if you are prepared to raid the archives:
Homeworld (old but brilliant)
Sacrifice (see above)

the list is endless.