I’m currently twenty-eight years old, almost twenty-nine, and I enjoy gaming as I have done since I was a kid. Occasionally, the Internet tells me I’m too old for gaming, that I shouldn’t be doing this, should be doing that, and recommends that I, “get a life.” Is this fair? I don’t think so; at least that’s the opinion which I voice. Deep down, like I often do, I doubt myself. So here I am, asking the question: am I too old to play games?
I think in order to attempt an answer to this question, I also have to enter into the debate of whether games are potentially a positive influence on us, helping us in various ways that actaully can make quite the difference.
But I'm so wound up!
When you’re stressed or outright angry, should you go out to the pub to get bladdered and start a fight with that local Scottish guy who keeps telling you how boney things are? Ach nae—you’re better off whipping out some hardcore games, sitting your arse in-front of a computer or TV, taking hold of that controller, and frantically smashing those buttons until you’ve had your fill. I think this works in my favor, because games are, for me, a stress-reliever, amongst other things.
What if I have no friends?
Come on, let’s face it, you’re sat at home playing World of Warcraft because there’s a big, scary world out there, with real, animated people who can physically interact with you. No? Well, I wager some of you—OK, let’s be frank—a lot of you, myself included, perhaps don’t have the best social lives, be it because we’re socially inept or simply too busy, … playing games. Whatever the reason is, there’s no denying that games offer us an alternative way in which to socialize, and so this is a point in my favor.
I played Gran Tourismo so now I can drive in real life!
Luckily, there’s a real license to acquire before one can legally drive. Behind the facetious subheading, what I’m really saying is that there is much to learn from games. I did actaully learn a lot about cars from Gran Tourismo. My dad, having a history as a mechanic, knows a lot about cars, and as such, was only too happy to tell me when I was speaking nonsense, but, surprisingly often, Gran Tourismo did a lot right. OK, you might argue that if I wanted to learn about cars, I needed only to go to college and learn such knowledge from Prof. Fancypants; well, good sir or madam, if I might interject! Isn’t playing a game a metric crap-ton more fun when it comes to learning, not to mention, as a result, more successful at teaching us things? Here’s some paraphrasing of what Wiki has to say about Gamification:
Gamification has been studied and applied in several domains, with some of the main purposes being to engage, teach, entertain, measure, and to improve the perceived ease of use of information systems.
Come on! That says it all, right? I’m sure if you dig deeper, you’ll find lots of positive studies that show how helpful it can be to play and learn, but don’t just take my word for it, or the word from the people with fancy qualifications, but instead try it for yourself!
As has been mentioned elsewhere on Taut with Thought, I’m interested in languages, specifically, English and German, but I’ve tip-toed into Dutch and French. I’m by no means a polyglot, but gamification helped me a lot with my German.
There’s a website called Duolingo that I would strongly recommend to anybody learning another language. Duolingo won’t do it all for you, but what it offers is truly useful—I think perhaps the most useful thing from Duolingo, is the community, some of whom offer sound, informative advice. I’ve also had some gamification from actaully playing regular games, like MMORPGs, but in German! The entire client all set in German, playing on German servers. Since I can’t go to Germany, that’s almost as close as I’ll get to immersing myself into the language.
My point, ladies and gentlemen, is that gamification often works, which I believe gives a solid point in my favor.
Thanks to gaming, I learned what morality means!
Admittedly, it’s probably not a great idea to base your entire moral compass on games like Grand Theft Auto, in which you eventually discover that you can get laid for the grand price of zilch, if you simply whack the hooker once you’ve done the nasty.
Wait! Put down the bat, inhale, and step away from that there dame. I’m saying Grand Theft Auto is the bad kind of thing from which to learn! Dammit, go back to your games— you’ve got more to learn about morality, son.
The thing is, and this is just a theory that just now cropped up deep within my brain, but what if games don’t teach us morality, so much as give us the opportunity to find our own morality? Perhaps you are a psychopath who enjoys boning then maiming your local prozzie; hey, that’s cool, because you discovered that from within a wonderful, vibrant game world.
I am of course mostly joking, but I think there remains a point here, somewhere, but I’m somewhat on the fence—what do you think?
Age is just a number, though.
Now that I’ve established some positive things to take from gaming, it’s time to add into the factor of age.
As we all too often see, there are a great many games that contain adult themes, such as sex, disturbing scenes, frightening imagry, and other such messed-up kit that you most definitely shouldn’t show a young child. With this in mind, doesn’t that then mean that a lot of games have been intentionally made more adult-friendly?
While a young child shouldn’t really play Grand Theft Auto, an adult sure as hell can! What about those freaky movies y’all watch on your little flick-box? What about the saucy material you read about late at night, alone, in the dark?—your sticky book made visible only by the moonlight glimming through the window pane. Come on, whether you’re in your 20s or 90s, it shouldn’t make a difference.
I just don't have the time!
Yet, you have the time to watch TV, read books, and to go out for the sole reason of getting bladdered—are you just making excuses for yourself? Games aren’t some shady, top secret you have to hide in a dark corner of your dank cellar amongst your shackled family and the used bog roll you just can’t help but to buy from eBay; that’s a thing, right?
Gaming may have started off as a gimmick for the incredibly bored youth of the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean we’re still living in such times.
A lot of the comments I get about my age and gaming come from kids, funnily enough; I put this squarely down to the fact that they—kids in general—have an idea that adults are all boring and serious, to which I profess: “Hell no!”
I honestly think that, logically, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with adults who enjoy playing games. I just see gaming as yet another form of entertainment, just like watching the TV, listening to music, or setting orphanages on fire.
If you’re an old fart like me and you still enjoy the odd gaming session here and there, I say go for it; ignore the kids and stuffy adults who tell you otherwise.