The Sentimental Gamer: Things Will Never Be the Same

Sentimental Gamer

Over the past few years I’ve slowly and begrudgingly come to a depressing realization, I just don’t enjoy video games as much as I use to.

Realistically, I know we’ve come a long way since my gaming heydays (the late 90’s to mid 2000’s). The graphics are photo-realistic, the controls and controllers have improved in every way, and the story-telling (in most cases) is far better than anything I ever played in my childhood and yet, I still can’t get lost in a game like I use to. Don’t get me wrong, I still love and appreciate every opportunity I get to play a fantastic video game, but no matter how hard I try and how much I wish it to be, I can never recapture that magic feeling I had when playing as a child.

Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country were weekly activities in my family. I would always look forward to the days when my parents would take time out of their schedule to sit and play Super Nintendo with me. We would share the joy and jubilation of beating each boss and we worked diligently to formulate unique strategies for each level. It was a truly special experience sharing that sense of accomplishment. We conquered impossible odds as a team, as a family. I shared this sacred bond with both my younger sister and brother and they soon found the same magic in gaming. We would spend hours playing together. There was no worry or stress, just siblings enjoying the company of one another. I often miss these days. Things were much simpler back then.

The older I became the less frequent these special moments with my family occurred. I switched focus from playing with my family, to playing with my friends. I spent as much time as I possibly could with my new amigos and together we shared these same experiences. Together we could accomplish anything, be anything we wanted, and change everything wrong with the world. We would spend countless hours lost in the fantasy of an amazing RPG or we’d work together to take down the strongest foes the Covenant had to offer. It was during this time that I met the strongest and most honest friends of my entire life. We weren’t together because of some twisted, mutual-benefit, we were friends because we loved the same things and shared the same passions.

I think moving out on my own is when I lost a solid chunk of that video game spark. Most of my friends separated and went to different colleges and some of them didn’t even bother. I left the nest to start school in a big, new city. Leaving your family for the first time is always an emotional experience. My mother pulled me in tight and her grip told me she never wanted to let go. Both my parents were overwhelmed with a sense of love and pride. I was the first in my family to attend college. I wanted more than anything to make them proud. I dedicated all of my free time to school. When I wasn’t in school or doing homework, I was at work so I could support myself and beautiful girlfriend. I rarely visited my family, I rarely called, and I rarely had any time for video games. A few years later I had completed school and been the first member of my family to obtain a college degree.

Since graduation I’ve tried to rekindle the spark I once felt. The feeling is there, but it will never be as strong. Things will never be the same. My younger sister is now an adult with a child and my baby brother is now in his teens. My own life is busier than it ever has been and finding time to bond with them is never easy. I guess as the games we play become more and more complex, so do the lives we lead. Change is a fantastic thing and many great things come from it, but sometimes accepting the fact that something you once loved is never coming back can be difficult.

I Mileson I

82 comments

  1. I have had the exact same feelings over the last couple of years. I just hit the big 30 this year, and my focus has been more and more drawn to my family and my career (good things, obviously). But what I realized was missing from my current gaming lifestyle was the thing it had always been about: my brothers. I played with both of my younger brothers almost daily even through college, and now, almost a decade later, I play mostly by myself. I did two things to change my “lonely gamer syndrome.” First, I started up a gaming blog 😛 second, I started up my first MMO (FFXI) and met some online people to play with. This has actually been a blast, and in a small way is giving me a new level of enjoyment out of the games I play, because I can do so in community, rather than isolation. When FFXIV comes out my brothers and I have all agreed to play it on the ps3 together. Maybe some great things in life don’t have to change?

    1. Video games can still be fun if you have some great people to share them with. For me, that’s what it’s always been about. I still play daily with some of my best friends and those moments remind of the fun I had when I was younger.

      That’s for stopping by and sharing your insight. It’s awesome you still play regularly with your brothers. There will always be a special bond there. I play with my younger brother after school sometimes and we always find ways to have a good time.

  2. Beautifully written. I understand completely how you feel, and I have had this same thought. I miss those days of staying up, playing Secret of Mana over and over and just getting lost each time. I loved the story about the family bonding using games; it’s one of the things I love being a parent now (D&D has made for awesome family bonding time). I don’t think it will ever be the same, but I am really happy I had the time with it that I did as well as the ability now to pass this solid love of gaming to the next generation.

    1. Thank you very much. It’s something I’ve been wanting to write for awhile now, but being mostly a humor site, I wasn’t sure how it would be accepted.

      As long as we love the people we’re with and share this gift, I don’t think the feeling will ever truly go away. Thanks for sharing your great story.

  3. Preface to an explosion of words: I loved this post! Reminded me a lot of a piece that I wrote about nostalgia in a high school newspaper, and it got me thinking I should revisit those thoughts and flesh out how I am feeling these days.

    I definitely know the feeling, though perhaps for me it isn’t quite as prevalent as it seems to be for you. My brother and I used to play games together all the time, and my mom would jump into whatever games she could (some Gauntlet or Secret of Mana action perhaps), but when my brother moved to London when I was quite young, things changed quite a bit. Even with single player games, I always had someone to bounce ideas off of and I definitely miss that reciprocation.

    When I went to college, Melee acted as a bit of crutch for social gaming for me. My 3 roommates all enjoyed it, so we played together often and it helped me set aside that gut feeling of sadness that I couldn’t find a group that would get excited about cooperative games to mirror experiences of my childhood. One of my favorite nights in college was a night that I managed to get a group of 3 friends really down for some New Super Mario Bros. and we just played for hours. But besides Melee, I cut down on a lot of my gaming, and the gaming I did was a very personal experience.

    Between different people in my life, less time for gaming, and growing older, how I interact with games has definitely changed, but not wholly in a negative way I think. My foundation of gaming with my brother has been an amazing way to keep a strong and healthy relationship, even with an ocean separating us. We love playing games and discussing components that we enjoyed and didn’t enjoy. I also cherish those moments I can find of cooperative gaming a lot more… like when my girlfriend got really into Rayman so we had that to look forward to when we got together, or running a D&D campaign with my brother when he is in town. This past holiday season we had a good run at the Pikmin game in Nintendo Land and just having everyone there enjoying the company was a blast. So while I may play fewer games and play certain games differently (perhaps less immersion heavy) I know that gaming still has a large place in my life, and expect it to stay that way.

    I hope you can find solace in the changes in you and in your life. Even if it is never coming back the way it was, I’m sure it has helped to shape who you are, in a good way judging from the thoughtfulness of this piece. Sorry, this is obnoxiously long.

    1. Thank you very much for stopping by and participating. I created this article to express my transition into adulthood and use it as an open forum for anyone to stop by and share their favorite childhood memories.

      I will always cherish the moments I spent with my friends and family and I’m sure I will have many more moments to cherish as my life goes on.

      1. I guess I’m a little late to the party, but mostly I just wanted to agree with pretty much everything that’s been said – the sentiments, the kudos on expressing them, and my own personal resonance with the whole thing. Even now, I still find that the ways I interact with games (and the ways they change my life) are evolving. Now I write about them and (try) to design them (and play them whenever I have the chance). I hope someday I can design a game that everyone here on the blog and in the comments would happily pick up and play, wherever they may be, and be able to share the experience with even a fraction of the fond feelings and memories that sit in all of our collective pasts as gamers. That talking and sharing games in a larger community like this could turn into something similarly cherish-able but altogether different is a (perhaps naïve) dream of mine.

        -Dustin (the older brother)

      2. I feel that a setting like this is one of the best ways people with the same interests can share their thoughts on the matter. I love that anyone can come and share a fond memory with a large group of strangers with no unwarranted backlash. A huge thanks for your comment and the comments of everyone else who participated in this experience.
        -Mileson

  4. I did the Super Mario thing with my parents, too.

    Just wait until you have kids. I’m 37 and have two teens. Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 were a blast to play with them. We’d voice-over the characters while playing and laugh so hard we’d have tears in our eyes.

    I haven’t gotten a chance to play much since having my toddler though. 😦 But, yes, feelings toward games do change as we get older. I still love RPGs though on my DS. If I had time, I’d be glued in front of the tv playing Skyrim.

    1. That sounds like a ton of fun. Every now and then I still get the chance to go over to parents an d play The New Super Mario Bros. with them and I always love it. I just turned 24 in December and I look forward to many more wonderful memories in my future.

  5. I love this piece! I feel the same way about the difference between gaming from my youth to gaming in my mature years. Part of it, I think, is that the games from my youth were really more challenging, moreso than today’s games. Older video games often had a stylishness or imagination that you can’t find anywhere else. I recently broke out Donkey Kong Country for the old Super Nintendo and I must have died like 100X trying to get through the minecart dungeon (and I consider myself a pretty good gamer)! In my youth, I probably died just as much, but the difference is I had more time and effort to invest in the game—to win felt like an actual victory! Do you know what I mean? Granted, there are a few modern games that give you that same feeling, but they are too few and far between, in my opinion.

    Part of it too is simply is the psychological effects of nostalgia. Nostalgic memories about a time when we were enjoying ourselves, finding ourselves particularly competent, or connected to other people raises feelings of self-regard. It’s pleasant to do so.

    I hope this makes sense.

    1. Oh yeah, Donkey Kong Country is a beast of a game. I spent countless hours and many lives trying to pass the minecart levels, especially the ones in the second game.

      Most of it is directly related to nostalgia. I associate these video games with good memories ergo, the video games are good. It’s kind of funny how our brains work sometimes.

  6. I’ve become more interested in video games as I’ve gotten older, even if I have less time to play. I really didn’t have the patience to sit down and play a game from start to finish when I was a kid. There was always GI Joes to collect, sports to play, knees to scrape, friends to see, bikes to ride, stories to read, and then university. Games were barely on the radar for me.

    Now I try to set aside time for games. They have almost replaced watching TV for me. The compelling story of a Mass Effect or the beauty of a Journey beg for my attention. Of course, I’m busy with work and life now, but video games have piqued my interest like never before.

    Don’t get me wrong: there’s still some things that I don’t like about video games today. Paying for DLC that should be in the game is just one example.

    But I’m excited about the themes, storytelling and great indie games out there, not just graphics. I’m looking forward to the future.

    It also doesn’t hurt that games are a great way to have fun, feel like a kid and maintain that child like joie de vivre.

    By the way, I’m in my 20’s.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I spent a ton of time outside. I also played basketball and baseball on teams for several years, but I’ve always had a fascination for video games.

      I feel the same about video games replacing my television watching. Nowadays I rarely watch any TV. I would much rather, like you said, engage in the compelling story of a game, than simply watch one unfold before me on TV.

      1. I know this post is really past due lol, but anyway. I keep having this conversation with my wife. I find TV so boring now that I have so many different games to play. The excitement of participation makes watching some drama totally lackluster. Wish I could find a game she could enjoy as well, but I’ve tried lots of stuff. Its just not her thing lol

  7. Really great piece and I totally get where you’re coming from. The nice thing about gaming is that it will always welcome you back, if and when you want to come back to it. And if you don’t, that’s okay. You can take the man out of the game, but you can’t take the gamer out of the man.

  8. You see for me I kind of have the opposite problem. The only person I’ve ever played video games with is my little brother. I’ve found it hard to find other friends who enjoyed playing video games probably mainly because most of the friends I have or had are all girls (not saying girls don’t play video games just none of the friends I made). My parents didn’t grow up with video games and so they aren’t particularly fond of them (in fact my Dad refuses to go into Gamestop). So, if my brother wasn’t with me I would play my video games alone. When I moved away from home I found I was playing more and more video games. Mainly because I am a generally a shy person and will usually choose to isolate myself rather than socialize with people because it’s just kind of stressful for me. But anyway great piece it’s always nice to read a blog when a person is willing to express what something means to them.

  9. There’s a lot to say about this, a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t think that a comment can do it justice.

    I’ll write a post about it later. Look for it.

      1. Hey I checked the preliminary info. Sounds good, look forward to reading the article. We post our gamercards at the end of each article to identify who wrote it, in this case me.
        -Mileson

      2. That picture didn’t load when I read the article the first few times, it must be the odd WiFi connexion I have at work. I was able to see it this time, it’s a neat way of going about things.

        In respect to The Disaffected Gamer, part one is complete and can be viewed by clicking this url (http://alongthepenumbra.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/the-disaffected-gamer-part-one-everyones-a-gamer-now/). I apologise for the naked url. For some reason I can only reply to this via my Notifications page, there is no reply button for your response on my end.

  10. Super post. Small tears … I miss gaming with my (now grown-up) kids.
    Go home and take the beautiful girlfriend with you, dig out an old console and get your game on. 🙂

  11. I do understand what you mean. i went through something very similar in my 20’s and it took me till I was almost 30’s to come back to playing games more. I do feel very different about how I play now. I remember having fun with games when I was younger but rarely played them through to completion. The passion will come back for you I think. It will just take a brilliant to spark it up again.

  12. I think that’s natural and good to reflect on why you are or are not into what you were once into in such a big way. I had every Nintendo system but playing really tapered off in my 20s. We picked up a PS3 as a blu-ray player and then I accidentally got interested in playing again. The online community aspect was new and intriguing to me; it’s what got me back into it and keeps me going. If I’m going to play, it’s going to be with friends when I can help it. I could do without the racism, sexism, and homophobia with all of the random people I meet in a lobby who end up spouting off that crap in my headset. Thank goodness for the mute button.

    1. Hahaha…. oh the online gaming community…. sometimes it can be a real kick in the shorts. I still have a few really close friends that I communicate with exclusively through online gaming and that’s really special too.

  13. “Over the past few years I’ve slowly and begrudgingly come to a depressing realization, I just don’t enjoy video games as much as I use to.” – This right here is like you plucked it straight from my head. There are so many games of the 360/ps3 generation that I honestly either didn’t enjoy or outright felt nothing for and I just don’t feel that way about even if I did enjoy them. For example to this day I can still play Bubble Bobble and feel entertained, frustrated and excited, like when I was little. Most games nowadays don’t make me feel that and it makes me sad. Thank you for your beautiful words and your blog.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind and words. I’m glad we share a lot of the same feelings towards the matter. I still love the older stuff and sometimes wish I could attach myself to new games in the same way.

  14. I think my biggest problem is that I never stopped playing my old video games, until my acquaintences kinda shamed me into stopping. Since then, I just substituted board and card games for video games, but there’s nothing quite like sitting on the couch and playing old RPGs for hours at a time.

    1. It doesn’t matter how many current gen consoles I own, I keep starting up new games in my old retro rpg’s. I love em. So far I havn’t found a substitute haha. I am a huge retro rpg collector and while I play all kinds of titles, they have a special place for me.

  15. I too have found myself pining for the days of my gaming youth (and sadly I am not even that old) My family was BIG in to gaming and part of the bonding experience I had with my brothers and my dad was playing Mario Kart or Final Fantasy 3 (known everywhere else as Final Fantasy 6) or classic PC games like Stonekeep,Sim Copter, Starsiege Tribes, Heroes Of Might And Magic 2, Warcraft 2 (yes kiddies believe it or not there was something before the MMO) etc… I can remember when my Dad first brought home our N64 and I remember playing Mario Kart 64 and just being amazed at the fact that everything was rendered in 3 dimensions. The days of my wide eyed wonderment are gone and while gaming has DEFINITELY changed nothing can substitute those days of watching my brother unlock the Apache in Sim Copter and destroy his entire town to the tune of Flight Of the Valkyries. Yeah playing games as an adult isn’t the same and I may not get the exact same joy out of it but I think part of it is because my perspective on the world has changed and now I can look at games and appreciate them for different reasons. Yeah I have a job now and more responsibilities BUT that makes being able to sink my teeth into a good game that much more rewarding.

    1. The balance between work and leisure is definitely a huge part of it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing some great memories with everyone. We may not be able to replicate the joy of our childhoods, but we can all look forward to creating some fantastic new memories.
      -Mileson

  16. It’s weird I feel the opposite way. It sounds like video games were a very social ordeal for you. I was one of those awkward kids that enjoyed being alone. And playing video games is kinda how I dealt with that. Now that I’m older I feel like I enjoy them more than I did back then. I feel like I understand the journey and can appreciate it more if that makes any sense. I still have my consoles from my youth but have next gen consoles and enjoy them equally. There’s something to be said about old school consoles and finding creative ways to work within graphical and memory restraints. Gaming has evolved from taking a few hours to days to finish. Lots more detail and more realism. But everything takes you in an adventure. I live with room mates I don’t have a family and maybe that’s where I still find time. It’s sort of my haven and escape from everyday life.

    1. I can totally see video games as a good way to escape. Nowadays, it seems like that’s more-so how I play them. I use to be much more focused on solitary gaming, but now I find myself immersing myself into more single player experiences. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
      -Mileson

  17. I know where you’re coming from. I’m in my 30s now, married with a baby, so life has really changed. I understand the nostalgia part — I think that’s a big part of the great memories: the epic conquests, the great times had with my brother and close friends, the innocence of childhood. That said, I still really enjoy video games, even if I rarely get to play them. But I would rather do so with friends. So once every other month or so, a group of us guys meet at someone’s house to play games together, whether PC multiplayer or Wii, and it’s about as much fun as you can have. For a few hours, all the weight of the world (which can feel heavy as an adult) is forgotten, and you can let your imagination roam and enjoy the company and laughter among good friends.

    I’m also looking forward to when my daughter is old enough to play games, so we can explore new worlds like Super Mario Galaxy together. That will be quality time, creating new memories like you described from your childhood. Instead of the circle of life, it’ll be like a circle of gaming… 🙂

    1. I hope you and your daughter create some really beautiful memories together. That sounds like it should be a really special experience for both of you. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing your story.
      -Mileson

  18. Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is a great post, and the principles are the same for other activites too I guess – I used to go clay pigeon shooting with the guys at college, but over the years we have lost touch, and I moved away. If I tried getting back into it now, it would probably still be good, but it wouldn’t be the same as with the people I used to do it with

    When I graduated I fell into the trap of WoW, and after two years of enjoying it, I finally decided a few months ago to quit, so I could concentrate on real life a bit more. And now I don’t know how I ever found the time to play! I am so busy! And I kinda miss it. But I know if I tried going back to play now I would get frustrated because there’s other things I need/could be doing. It was wonderful while it lasted, but even in a few short years, things move on!

    Games will still always be part of my life though – since my partner is passionate about them I have little choice in the matter 😛

  19. Wow, that was really relatable. I think as we get older our minds become a lot more busy and bogged down with other things so as a result switching off and emersing yourself in a video game world becomes a lot more difficult. Also I personally think video games these days are mostly souless and lack something that the games of the previous generation had.

    Good post and definitly worth a follow, I have a similar post on my page.

    1. Thank you very much for stopping by. It does get a little harder as we get older to find the proper time to immerse ourselves in a good game, but I guess that makes the opportunities we get to that much more engaging.

      Thanks for the follow!

      Take care,
      -Mileson

  20. Amazing piece! I went through the same thing with my dad, brother and Pokémon. We spent hours battling it out and trading back and forth strategically. Eventually, I moved on to playing with my friends, then since getting separated from my systems during university, I’ve never been able to get as far back into the swing of things. From all the other posts, this seems to be the typical life of a gamer..!

    1. Thank you very much! I’m very glad so many of us share the same experiences. It’s an interesting chapter in our lives, one that I’m sure will eventually lead to exciting things.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story!

      -Mileson

  21. I read this blog and it encapsulated my feelings exactly. I used to LOVE any kind of video game and now recently, the last 10 years or so, i’ve lost most of that spark that was my love for the adventure of gaming. I’ve tried and tried again to get it back, but it just seems to elude me. For the longest time i thought it was depression, or God forbid, growing up, but i have managed the depression and i still cant seem to sit down and be as enthralled with gaming as i once was. I miss spending 12 hours with a buddy trying to figure out how to make a Gold Chocobo in FF7. or playing tournaments with another friend of Red Alert 2 online and becoming gods at the game. I really miss it, and there doesnt seem to me to be a replacement for it. I dunno. You really hit a chord with me on this post, i’ve often wondered if i was the only one who ever felt this way.

    1. Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing your feelings. I’m glad to hear other folks sharing similar experiences. I feel like it’s just part of the hustle and bustle.of my modern life. I don’t have as much time as I would like to dive into a great game.
      -Mileson

  22. It’s interesting to hear about your experiences of family bonding over video games. I was most into games from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, and I can honestly say that my social gaming experience was a near total opposite to yours. Especially early on, gaming was a very solitary experience for me. I played most of my games on a PC (the only two consoles I’ve ever owned were an Atari 2600 and an original NES) by myself. I have no siblings, and my mother and father never really understood what was so engaging about the games I played. There were virtually no moments of bonding, experience, or mutual understanding. In fact, the time I spent playing games was often looked down upon as a huge time sink that took me away from more social activities. I remember one instance where I was playing Starflight, probably the first really good Star Trek-style space exploration game, and we were late for some kind of show. I couldn’t stop, because you could only save your game at the starbase, with sometimes hours of time in between. I was playing it off two floppies (this was pre hard-drive), and, after asking me to stop playing and get ready several times, my father finally turned the computer off while I was still playing. And I didn’t just lose my time since the last save when he did that. Turning the computer off with the disks in the drives would often damage the data, and the only way to make a backup copy of your single save game was to tediously copy both floppies onto another set. I lost at least several weeks, if not months, of playing when that switch was thrown.

    Later my friends and I would take turns playing games on the PC, so there was some socialization involved, but it was always an adjunct to an existing friendship, and there was almost no ability to play together. That was reserved for the arcade, where quarter-sucking games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Street Fighter 2 allowed cooperative or competitive play. Even so, the person I was playing against was already a friend, or a stranger I’d probably never see again. A few friends I had were “arcade friends”, where our relationship was mainly about the gameplay, but didn’t extend much outside that. There were a few exceptions, but not many.

    Once I got into college, I started playing a lot of FPSs like Quake and Unreal Tournament. In terms of emotional involvement, the adrenaline rush of blowing other virtual people limb from limb and dancing in their falling giblets was one of the most powerful emotional feelings I’d ever had. I really liked Capture the Flag, too, which my first real co-op experience. I also played the original Starcraft series with and against other people. But here again, most of them were strangers, with no lasting connection formed between me and them, or friends I’d already had for years. A few years after college, I realized how the addictive quality of games was affecting my life, and limited playing them to the occasional “gaming vacation” where I picked up something good and let it take over my life for a few weeks or months.

    So, basically, I’ve almost never had gaming result in long-term friendship or an increase in intimacy with my family. I was never a member of a guild, or even a regular play group. I played games with friends, but our relationship rarely revolved around gaming. I’ve never really played an MMO. All that makes reading your post really interesting, because I’m a pro game designer now, and, like bad habits picked up from parents, I’m still designing for my childhood self instead of what people are actually doing with games now. The main tool I’ve been using, GameSalad, has basically no network or social support, so designing games where people play together is almost impossible. I’ve been branching out into Corona for that reason, because I *want* to make more social games, but it’s clear that I don’t really understand them the same way hard-core gamers today do. I did read Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal, which clues me into the great power of gaming motivations to change the world in positive ways, and that’s the kind of social integration I want in my games.

  23. I remember a game called Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. It was a Star Wars RTS for PC.

    There were no fancy photorealalistic graphics, no story that was any less predictable than the other games of it’s namesake, no awesome new control system.

    I. Loved. It.

    That is the closest to nostalgia I ever got. They don’t make games like that anymore.

  24. Heard! My younger brother and I are still close because of video games from that era. We still get together every now and then for some Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid or Goldeneye. I think many modern games are missing the heart that made these titles special. Great post!

    1. Thanks very for stopping by and sharing! I really miss the feeling of many of the classic games. It’s great to hear you and your brother still get together and bust out the old favorites.
      -Mileson

  25. I have found myself and my boyfriend following similar paths. He, less so than me, but life gets more complex and priorities move around and it is more difficul

  26. Nicely written, i know the feeling. Recently ive tried playing my old RPG games again, and though its still fun i cant bring myself to finish them anymore. Its not the same. Makes me wish i didnt take them out of the closet, at least that way they would have remained on top of their pedestals in my memories.

    1. It’s quite disappointing. We all have those games we hold in the highest regards. Sometimes when we go back and play them, the magic that once was, is no longer there. Not in enough time in the day I suppose.

      Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing.

      -Mileson

  27. Great post. In one sense I have experienced that same feeling because when I was younger games were more impressive to me, but now that I’ve beaten a lot of them, and played even more, I’m more skeptical of hype and gimmicks. Nowadays I don’t have much time but end up finding time for games that I truly love — things like Bioshock and Half Life, a couple indie titles like FTL.

    It sounds like what you miss is the comaraderie that you had with your family when playing games, not necessarily the games themselves. Your solution may be a more team-based, living room style game. I would steer you towards a game called Artemis (www.artimes.eochu.com) — it’s a bridge simulator much in the style of Star Trek and it’s great fun. It requires you transforming your living room into a TV set though :P. An easier one called Spaceteam is a great group game and easy to pick up; every player’s screen has controls to adjust random things (tune gamma-gear to 20!) and instructions that are for someone else. So you have to yell out the instructions on your screen while listening for someone else to yell out your instructions. 🙂

    Hope you find your inspiration again.

  28. I know exactly what you mean. Maybe we need a groundbreaking video game that will knock our socks off. This nostalgia we have for old games might be due to a lack of shock factor. Mario and Donkey Kong revolutionized game play. The 2000’s need their own Mario.

    1. I totally agree. We need something new, something that’s never been seen before. There have been some revolutionary releases over the last several years, but nothing compared to the advances we saw in the 90s. Let’s see of the next generation will shake things up a bit.
      -Mileson

  29. I hear what you are saying! Gone is the era of taking days off work just to finish Tomb Raider and staying up all night because completing Bubble Bobble is the most important thing in the world. I love the interaction on the Xbox of talking to parties etc, but Iike to game alone as a rule, especially for RPG’s. Sometimes I think it’s easier to get wrapped up in a fantasy life than face the real one. I know I like to get lost sometimes, but like you say it’s just not as easy these days.

    1. I totally agree. The xbox live party is one of the things keeping my gaming going. It’s so easy to get together with good friends and play a game, even though we are hundreds of miles away.
      -Mileson

  30. Man, these are definitely grounds that me and my roommate have discussed time and time again. It isn’t just the the change in graphics or the wishing for yesteryear, it’s that it slowly becomes harder and harder to truly get excited about much. The days where I’d have several games on a mental wishlist are gone, numbering to 1-2 maybe every couple months, and the games I do obtajn collect dust as I try to get my priorities via school and work through. That which deserves my time barely gets much, while I may retread older titles. Bob Dylan’s got us here, the times are ever changing and nothing will ever be the same. On the other hand, it warms me to see older games revisited and revived, Rayman and Thief come to mind in that, for which I gladly give those spare hours to on a stroll down memory lane.

    1. Thanks for sharing. Bob Dylan is definitely a very wise man and coming of age can be a very difficult thing for a kid at heart, but it’s important to stay rooted to the things that make us who we are. I will always love gaming, even if my interests are inconsistent.
      -Mileson

  31. Yeah, gaming nostalgia can be hard to maintain. I went through that for a few years but I find my interest increasing with the advent of FPS, haha. Great blog!

    1. Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing! A good FPS can do a lot for me these days. It’s one of those genres that almost everyone is into and it makes playing with friends really easy.
      -Mileson

  32. This is interesting.
    I admit I don’t have much ‘nolstagia’ for gaming as until I few years ago I never really was that ‘into’ games. Sure I played stuff but it was never my main focus.

    I never really had the experience of playing with other people. My brothers are a lot older than me so they gamed but everything they played was ‘too old’ for me (didn’t stop me creeping on my brother playing Half Life, which got us both in trouble) and we didn’t really have any consoles in the house growing up. I didn’t really have a lot of friends either so I’ve never really had that gaming experience.

    I do remember my brother and I playing Worms together which was always fun.

    I believe my oldest brother had a PSOne for a while, I remember the tech demo dinosaur which I really liked to play with.

    Closest things I have to ‘real’ nolstagia are KOTOR 1 and 2 and Oblivion as they were some of the first ‘proper’ games I ever played. I’ve actually got them on my laptop now and I am enjoying reliving them. (And Oblivion actually looks like it’s meant to now, on our old PC we had to turn a lot of effects down)

    There was a handful of silly kids games too from when I was quite young, including some Rayman ‘learning’ games, and a MLP game which I did actually buy a copy of a while ago when I found it in a charity shop. And I quite enjoyed playing Monkey Island when I was younger.

  33. It’s exactly what I feel. Somehow no matter how good the game I’m playing now, my favorites are still those classic games I played in my childhood. It’s not the game itself, but the moment when we played it. I’m always a solitary gamer as I play non-multiplayer RPGs so I can manage without playing friends, but replaying those old titles bring me back to times when everything is so simple. Today’s games are good, but nostalgic value of the old times is hard to replicate. I hope you can somehow comprehend my rambling.

    1. Yea, I could definitely understand the ramblings haha. I’m glad you share in a lot of what I’m feeling. It’s a classic coming-of-age phase I suppose. I still appreciate all the great memories I have of those older games, but I look forward to making many more with my family and friends. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Take care.

  34. Beings I’m going to be 50 this year I’m not of a generation that grew up with video games, but. The one thing we all have in common within our youth is, imagination. That’s what “playing” is all about, it’s also a form a learning, building friendships, building your own character, setting your store out for the rest of your life. The form of “Play” has changed or new forms of play now exist, but its values have not. It’s still the same. That’s why, like I said. Even though video games weren’t around when I was growing up, I can really relate to your article. There’s a saying, “He who dares wins” and I have one too. “He who plays, has fun.”

    1. That is very well put. It’s important to keep in touch with your inner child. In many ways they are much more honest than our adult selfs will ever be. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  35. It’s a drag getting old. Food doesn’t taste as good. Hangovers get worse every time and it takes fewer and fewer drinks to ruin the next day.

    That said, there has been a shift in the video game industry as a whole. Moar graphics, less challenge. Sure they look good, but in order to appeal to a large market, they’re mostly brain dead activities.

    WecanhazatendancytowardsOBESSION. We don’t like the word addiction. Would you call Leonardo an addict? Einstein? Sure, they would disappear for days, weeks, months or even years at a time. But with good reason.

    For a long time my gaming was unhealthy. I used it to escape. Now, I’m using it to reconnect. The games in and of themselves are no longer what it’s about for me.

    It’s about community. I started an outfit in Planetside2 with one guy I know in RL. We’ve just gone past 250 members. There’s always people in mumble now. Many of them are smarter, more creative and a heck of a lot nicer than anybody I met in 15 years of software development.

    Now we make videoz. I’m learning Adobe Ps, Dw and Pr from people who are practically demanding that I fix my web site. 😀

    And they’re will to actually take the time to help me rather than just saying, “Can you work any harder/faster? Because this project was already behind schedule before we hired you. And if you don’t we’re gonna fire you. kthxbye.”

  36. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Nowadays I try not to use gaming as an escape, I just seem to play them a bit more critically, which in some cases can take away from the experience. The knowledge as a person and a “gamer” has definitely increased, so have my expectations.

    I still have a lot of fun playing games, but it’s not quite the same and it probably never will be. By engaging in communities such as this site and other forums, I can still connect with others who feel the same way and we can share some great memories and triumphs.

    Take care.

  37. I actually feel the same about this. Well to a point. A couple months ago I brought a snes off eBay.
    After playing The Legend of Zelda a Link to the past for about an hour or so I felt my love for video games coming back. Since then every couple of weeks or so I search eBay for games that I once had or really wanted as a child. Maybe it’s that part of me that’s never grown up that’s bringing back my love of video games or just playing the snes reminds me of a simpler times of no bills and responsibilities.
    The problem is though I know deep down no next gen console will make me love video games like the snes does.

    1. It’s never gets old replaying the old favorites. I still play A Link to the Past and Symphony of the Night every year. It’s hard to compete with something you have such a fond memory of.

  38. I know I mostly talk about RPGs when I talk about gaming, but hey, I grew up when ATARI and the first awesome arcade games were the Next Big Thing. When I was a kid, I was really into the ATARI– mostly because it meant I got to play with my super awesome big cousin. Over time, as my access improved, and so did the games– I found myself less interested.

    I actually switched to RPGs to get what I used to get out of Videogames, as weird as it sounds. In the old days, you could kinda low-level multi-task conversations and the like, because the concepts were pretty simple and there wasn’t SO much movement and change all the time. You could freely MST3K things that you were doing, and fist-bump or whatever. This is true for Civilization and other slower turn based games. But when you have all that detail, real time and emersion, you are forced to give the game your entire attention. That kind of experience is harder to share. I suppose MOGs open that social aspect back up, but I found the price of admission kind of high, for both time and resources.

    Ironic for the class of person (who falls in several categories) famous for never leaving the basement, eh?

  39. Excellent post and I really cant remember getting immersed in a game the way I used to. Maybe it’s just something that comes with age naturally? Interests change.

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