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Video Games and Violence / PBS

VIDEO GAMES AS A KID VS. VIDEO GAMES AS AN ADULT

How times have changed.

by Felipe Parada

We always tend to look back on our childhood and try to pinpoint the exact moment where it all went wrong. Thankfully this isn't one of those types of articles. The one thing we can look back on with fond memories is all the awesome games we got to play. Time seemed to move a lot slower back then, like we were stuck in some sort of adult time dialation where the older we get, the faster time moves. As I think back on the many games I have played, I realized that I'm not the only one that has changed. Everything has changed and below are just some of the things that has changed when you played videogames as a kid vs. playing them as an adult.

1. As an adult you have less time

Whether it’s trying to excel at your career, raising your kids, trying to learn something new, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, maintaining a social life and trying to text everyone back can really suck up a lot of your time. Let’s be honest and face the music, we just don’t have the time anymore, and this means that we need to squeeze in our gaming time in between these small gaps that we have in our lives. Binge gaming has been replaced by binge watching and those good-ole days of having gaming marathons that ran from 9 AM till

2 AM are long gone.

 

Now I find myself actually using my calendar, and a bit of Eisenhower’s Matrix, to carefully partition my time between my adult responsibilities, writing articles, playing video games and building gundams. Let me tell you, it’s not an easy feat. I’ll be lucky if I get in a sold 1-2 hours of game-time but if you factor in load times, start-up menus and matchmaking times, you really only get about 45 minutes of ACTUAL game time. I still haven’t finished the Witcher 3 and its now 2018. Hang in there……

 

2. YOU JUST HAVE NO TIME!!!

No you didn’t misread that, I used time again. I know, I could have mentioned this in the previous point but I feel that this needs a section all its own. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I have no time to “GIT GUD!” (I really can’t believe I used that term.) As an adult, I now suck at videogames. There, I said it, I’m living my truth. Back in the day I was a freak of nature on the joystick as I secured all the collectibles, unlocked secrets (without the use of Game Genie) and dispatched bosses with relative ease. I remember playing difficult games like Battletoads, Contra, NARC and Ghosts ‘n Goblins with such ease and poise. Unfortunately time has changed and games have changed, I have changed and I suck.

 

I’ll use Bloodborne as an example and how the game almost broke me. Adult me struggled to get through every single level of the game. It felt like every single enemy was a random boss encounter. Once I got to the actual boss (I’m looking at you Blood-Starved Beast), I was a bit worried. If I was having this much difficulty with the regular grunts, then I had no chance with the bosses. But adult me had a certain perseverance that young me would have never had. Death, after death, after death, I was able to finish the game with the super-secret ending and I felt a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt in a while. But what I didn’t realize is that I sacrificed too much sleep in order to beat that game and at my old age I just can’t be sacrificing too much sleep or I won’t be able to function the next day. Whoa is me.

 

3. You’re excitement for games change

Just picture this for a second. You’re watching E3 and you see a gameplay trailer for a highly anticipated game coming out next year. The hype builds, and builds, and builds and then you hear the phrase that drives it home “Over 100 hours of gameplay.” Hours upon hours of side quests, leveling up, crafting and extinguishing evil from a fictional living, breathing world. These are the games that really give you a bang for your buck but realistically can you afford to sink in 100 hours into a game? Yes we are still sticking with the “time” topic here.

 

Yet somehow we still get upset when we hear about an 8 hour linear experience with only 1 ending. Realistically these are the only games we have time to play. Realistically, I need to back and finish my back-log of games and just for shits and giggles here is just a small list of games that I still have yet to finish: Dying Light, Batman Arkham Knight, Witcher 3, Mad Max, Uncharted 4, Just Cause 3, Ratchet & Clank, you get the point.

 

We need to play those games that respect our time, games that were designed with the modern busy man in mind. If a game is 10 plus hours with small amounts of exploration, then that’s a game for me. I feel that a game like Journey fits this description perfectly. I was thinking of getting Persona 5 but let’s be honest, I’ll never finish that game and I don’t want a game like that to sit on my shelf collecting dust. It’s time I make better use of my time and it looks like I need to consult the Eisenhower Matrix to try to squeeze in a back-log game here and there.

 

4. Playing video games can be an EXPENSIVE hobby

The only real hobbies I have are playing video games and the occasional collectible. The great thing about being an adult is that you can actually buy your own stuff, how awesome is that?!?! But be careful, just like how we all love to smash things and go a little over-kill on some enemy A.I., but you know what else we can go over on? Our bank accounts. Nothing puts us more over than that overdraft alert that we get hit with. Unfortunately that means having to make the painful sacrifice on skipping out on a game in order to secure a highly anticipated masterpiece (I’m looking at you God of War, sorry Far Cry 5).

 

But the only silver lining in all of this is that you don’t have any parental barrier stopping you from getting any games. No more waiting only on birthdays or Christmas to get a new game. You don’t have to pester your parents as to why you need the newest game out on the market (mine was Final Fantasy VII). The only real person you have to convince is yourself and how hard can that be? Well looks like I’m not eating for a couple of days, but at least I have God of war on launch day.

 

5. You actually relate to the material

I heard someone say once that “You don’t watch porn for the story” and I feel that this goes hand in hand with video games. As a child, the content and story in the video games really didn’t mean much, at least not to me. All you wanted to do was pick up the remote, play the game and beat the bad guy. Back then that was the premise of every game, and it really hasn’t changed much since then. There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city. (Bioshock reference) I always brushed off story and content surrounding a child and their dad, until I became a dad.

 

Games like The Last of Us, and recently God of War have a new meaning when it comes to gameplay and content. You’re not just playing for yourself, you’re playing for someone else and that isn’t something you take lightly. Seeing how Joel interacts with Ellie and how Old Man Kratos tries to guide Arteus really hits home. It even get me thinking, “How would I have handled that situation if I was in their shoes?” It’s this type of immersion that makes me appreciate games more as an adult. And yes, the deaths of Agro in Shadow of the Colossus and Aerith in Final Fantasy VII are more devastating now than they were back then. I really can’t re-live those moments again, I just can’t.

I know it ended off on a downer but did you enjoy taking a trip down memory lane? What do you think changed the most in games? Leave a comment below:

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