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Game Management: The Plight of the Adult Gamer

/ Mar 22nd, 2013 No Comments

Quantic Dream
Quantic Dream

The oldest gamer.

Amidst painful deaths, restarting check points, and frustration with missing a vital jump over and over again. The worst thing that faces older gamers these days is time. Having amassed responsibility and making sure every other factor that pertains to life (social interaction, eating, general health maintenance, brushing teeth) are taken care of, adult gamers don’t have the luxury of spending hours in front of the screen anymore. Growing up as a gamer has afforded me with an intense love for the gaming world, but even with so much desire to play all the great games out there. I just can’t play them all! With an infinitely growing game catalog and so little time to give the attention that they deserve (I’m trying XCOM!). This priority shift leads many gamers to question which games take precedence over the others.

Quick in and out affairs

It is impossible to belittle the fact that games like Madden and Call of Duty are such tremendous successes. Criticism of the franchises’ lack of innovation or boring gameplay are sung around the internet but the truth remains. These titles give us older gamers what they really desire. Quick action with no dedicated time commitment. Unless we are obsessive with the K-D ratio in an online death match, it is very easy to step away from the game to take care of personal matters. Baby is crying after waking up? No problem, just be idle for time being and take the K-D ratio hit (heaven forbid!). Although a part of us dies inside every time this happens, the hassle or ostracizing we receive from fellow gamers for being AFK is not a big deal.

Now swinging it on the other side of the fence. Sometimes there is only enough time for a quick session of gaming before heading out for work or a class in contemporary literature. Trying to complete a raid dungeon in World of Warcraft or any other MMO is just asking for trouble. Those papers won’t write/file themselves while crawling a virtual dungeon. So loading up a quick Madden match against the computer or enjoying a few rounds of multiplayer Halo is not a bad choice. There is no commitment to finish what is started. While being able to walk away from any game is always possible, it is very much dependent on each individual. And a part of that is putting oneself in a position to step away. In this case, by choosing to pick up a Madden game instead of being a healer or tank in a raid dungeon it is easier to step away. Fewer strings attached. Time is a valued commodity and these situations present themselves with greater frequency the older gamers get.

The Big Dogs

So when it comes down to attacking that catalog of games, sometimes recently released games tend to take precedence over others just because they’re new. One of the reasons why playing it while it is still new is the need to experience the impactful moments in a game before a passing co-worker goes on a splurge of details the following day. Which ruins the game. I remember not having enough time to tackle Mass Effect 3 due to a busy schedule and even though I had tried so hard to avoid conversation with those who had consumed it within a day or two. It found a way to happen. SPOILER ALERT Mordin dies. Having those co-workers just blurt it out due to their desire to find someone to empathize with them and the death of their favorite character tarnished the experience. Up until that point in the game, a part of me was just waiting for Bioware to just get it over with so I could stop thinking about it and just play.

The new titles also find themselves in the system tray first because they need to be played right away. Busy schedules, real-life commitments be damned. If one is finally able to set aside time to do some demon stomping in Diablo III or even worse, just picked up last years iteration of Call of Duty. Expecting friends to get the same joy out of it even though they had already been on it when it was en vogue, is wishful thinking. Aside from the mighty half-hearted try, those friends will quickly fall out of it before you do. So there is a general attraction to play the hottest new titles so that, at the very least, having sessions with friends will have that “pure” feeling.

Sometimes there are so many variables to juggle that just getting a good hour or two of gaming in is nigh impossible. It is no wonder that the quickly consumed games on tablets or phones are claiming a sizeable portion of the market. Even with the existence of those games, there are still so many amazing titles to pick up than anyone has enough time to play. Choosing which ones to play first will always be a difficult choice the older we get. Unless the lottery bestows its golden pot into our laps and eliminates the need for a job, only then will gamers finally have time. But until that time comes, it is time to hop in Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm  and learn a few things about it before playing multiplayer becomes a lesson in futility. (Oh and make sure to check out the Samwise Interview in case you haven’t already).

Mark Gonzales

Mark Gonzales

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Mark is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated and part of the editorial team. He always has had an intense love for gaming and of the spoken word. During conversations, he is known to create elaborate anecdotal references to popular 90's phrases with varying levels of success.
Mark Gonzales
Mark Gonzales

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