I think I read somewhere that the optimal age for gaming is something along the lines of 16. At 32, that means that my gaming skills have been dropping and dropping for 16 years now.
This revelation hit me recently when I found out that not only do I not have the reflexes to play certain action games anymore, but I don’t have the patience to sit through them either. If a game wastes too much time getting started, I’d probably just quit and boot up another game. This is a huge contrast from my earlier days, when I would stare at a “press start” screen for 5 minutes, hoping that it would lead into some introduction sequence to give me some back story on the game I’m about to play.
Furthermore, I had the patience to go through and replay levels, carefully studying the attack patterns of a boss character, or mapping out a level with a pencil and a notebook. I got so frustrated with Orcs Must Die recently that I found myself looking up game guides for each level before even attempting it first. Why the lack of patience? Maybe it’s because I have less time to kill these days, with family and work commitments and all… or I guess I could also pin it on all those game guides that are readily available on the Internet. In the 90s, I’d have to pick up some gaming magazine or call a friend for advice. These days I can just Google it on my iPhone and never even leave the TV. Either way, I’m just not a very patient gamer anymore.
Sadly, my diminished gaming ability has not influenced my stubborn desire to excel at games though. I might be living in denial, but I still refuse to play games on the Easy difficulties, and will even try to push my limits by playing on Hard modes (especially if there are achievements to be unlocked). This is apparent in games where your performance is rated, like Angry Birds, Guitar Hero and Project Gotham Racing. These type of games would make me replay levels again and again until I get that coveted five-star rating.
I remember getting so frustrated when I was playing Metropolis Street Racer (the precursor to the Project Gotham Racing series), that I actually popped the game out of my Sega Dreamcast and hurled the disc into the wall. Not quite as dramatic as putting my fist in my monitor or destroying my gaming console, but yeah it’s still gamer rage and not one of my finer moments. On a side note, the disc survived the impact and still worked. Yes, that does mean that I played the game again, like a pathetic addicted bitch.
Well, guess I should just accept that I’m not such an uber-gamer anymore, and stick to casual games like Puzzle Quest.