It’s been two years since I wrote a week of lists, but I thought I would start this last four months of 2016 with revisit to that old meme. So, starting on the first, the eighth edition of the Week of Lists begins, called the “Turning 40ish Edition” with deep and engaging topics such as this one…
Ich bin ein gamer.
I game, therefore I am.
We’ve been defending something lately: in fact, someone asked me this just yesterday. “Why are so many people ‘your age’ playing Pokemon Go?” They asked me.
Uh… because we want to. Because it is nostalgia wrapped with a bow. Because it gets us out of the house. Because. Because. Because.
Because I play a lot of video games actually, but you only see me playing Pokemon Go since it’s played in public. And so what? I’m supposed to roll over and die and let all the kids have all the fun because I’m a… “grown up?”
No. And here’s why…
5. Gotta Be Keeping Up with the Young’uns
Not everyone reading this is a parent, but I am. My daughter loves video games. Plays them. Watches other people play them. Has even designed a couple of her own little games in Scratch. The Parenting Advice Community is divided on that: kids need to be outside and playing with real people. Kids should only have eighteen seconds of screen time per day. Kids will rot their minds by using technology. Oh… and the past called, and rock and roll would be the end of humanity, FM radio is destroying our youth, and those darn kids are being corrupted by billiards. Obviously I disagree. Her life is going to be shaped and defined by how comfortable she is with tech, gaming is the introduction, and I have the opportunity to be the tour guide. Better know my way around.
4. I Need A Break More Than A Lot of People
Do I need even to explain this? Games are mindless and fun. Work & life are draining and stressful. Do the math.
3. Play (Probably) Keeps Your Mind Agile
Your brain is like a muscle: routine exercise keeps it strong and fit. But how do you exercise your brain? By thinking, solving complex puzzles, following engaging narratives, parsing through intricate problems, and forcing your grey matter to perform complex fine-motor skills: umm… gaming, anyone?
2. Games are Better Than Ever
I’m as nostalgic for some PokeMarioZeldaFinalFanaxxon as the next guy my age, but have you played some of the amazing stuff out there: I’m not even talking graphics here. I’ll admit, my mind is blown by the scale of some of the games that have a backbone built on procedurally generated content. We used to get excited about a few new levels, well, because I can’t even tell you how many times I played the first three screens of Donkey Kong as a ten year old. But then look at a game like No Man’s Sky: it’s a bit repetitive I hear, but to fully explore the entire game would take EVERYONE playing together five BILLION years.
Like… holy — KABLOWIE! *Mind Blown… This is the golden age folks, why would I quit just when things are getting awesome?
1. It’s a Generational Thing Not an Age Thing
Which brings me right back to that question: “Why are so many people ‘your age’ playing Pokemon Go?” Because, it’s not that this group of people that we call “old people” don’t play video games… it’s that the people we think of as “old people” never played video games. Not now, and not when they were young either… because there were no video games. Video games are not for kids: they were adopted by kids, thirty years ago, and those kids are now me and my generation. We play games. That’s what we do. Why would we stop just when we can actually afford to do it right.