A week ago, we pondered the chance of living to 100 and still playing games at that age. But even as the gamer demographic trends older, many feel like the time will naturally come when they’ll put down the controller.
Sean Sands, writing at Gamers With Jobs, is one of them. He’s always been a gamer, but “It has only just begun to occur to me, however, that it may not be who I will always be.” I’m not sure that I’ve always considered myself one, so facing the end of this as an interest or a lifestyle isn’t as thought provoking for me. But then again, I have to wonder if I ever will.
Because there are men and women with kids and jobs and the full spectrum of adult responsibilities and interests who still squeeze in time for video games. I’ve got a much more limited set of obligations, plus a professional interest for the time being. But how long will this hold my attention? Until I’m 50? Until I’m 60? And how big will my pile of shame be then? Will I have finally finished the first Mass Effect?
As Sands ponders the end, let us and your fellow gamers know, in the comments, whether you imagine an age or a time when you’ll stop gaming.
Future Uncertain [Gamers With Jobs, April 15, 2010]
I’m always hesitant talking about the end, because it may come off as though I’m cheering it on like a nihilist the day before the Rapture, and that’s not my goal. At the same time, I think I need to acknowledge that someday there will likely be an end – that someday I will just not have enough time and enough enthusiasm to keep the dying ember of my passion for gaming stoked.
When I glimpse the hazy vision of myself at 40, at 50 and beyond, I’m not sure I see a controller in my hand or a mouse under my palm anymore.
In my twenties I firmly believed that my professional destiny was inevitably intertwined with the gaming industry somehow. I always kind of figured that I’d either end up writing about or maybe even for the games that seemed so symbiotic to my identity. I didn’t have any kind of clear pathway to achieve that effort, but it just felt right. It felt like who I would be.
Now, I talk to my friends in the industry, and though I hear the passion they still have for the job and the way that passion carries them over what sounds like an endless parade of challenges and disappointment, I am unerringly grateful that my professional life took a different turn. I realise that a lot of people get into writing about games with at least the vaguely unformed hope that someone will take notice and hire them into the industry, and many of these people succeed and go on to lead happy enough careers. For me, the more I write about games, the happier I am that I don’t rely on this industry for the well being of myself and my family.
The point is not to slander the gaming industry, a job that seems not to need my further assistance. The point is that as I look back, I see a growing distance between what I thought would be my life as a gamer and what I now know as a life deviating slowly but irrevocably from that vision.
I suppose it’s a silly thing to take so seriously, but it is also something that has been a defining factor in a life for now creeping up on forty revolutions around that hoary old sun. In some ways I’m still as close to gaming as I’ve ever been, popping up here as I do most weeks to wax contemplative on whatever issue has sat on the front of my brain and demanded attention, and in other ways I am increasingly disconnected and uninspired by things that would once have been momentous.
The thing is that the idea doesn’t bother me like I might once have thought it would. It seems right that someday gaming can just slip away, like a forgotten childhood friend who once was bound to every corner of your life. When the time comes, I think I will be at peace with it.
Weekend Reader is Kotaku’s look at the critical thinking in, and of video games. It appears Sundays at 11 a.m. Mountain time.
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