13 Way On How to Tell if You're an Aging Gamer
1. There are too many buttons on modern-day controllers
Back in the "good old days," gaming was simple. Video game controllers just had a joystick and a button. That was enough. The NES controller included another button, as well as a select and start buttons. No big deal, that's only four buttons, right? Now controllers contain upwards of 15 ways to control the game, which includes analog sticks that click downward, bumpers and triggers with multiple uses. It's just too much for your old-man hands to control.
2. Modern-day arcade games cost too much to play
Remember when it cost a quarter to play an arcade game? You could walk up to a shiny new Tempest machine and drop in a quarter for at least five minutes of gaming bliss. Those days are long gone, grandpa. Now, you're stuck with high-tech hunting machines and racing games that cost upwards of $3 to play. Go someplace like Dave and Buster's, you're gonna drop $20, easy.
3. You see too many double-digit anniversaries for your favorite games.
Remember Sonic the Hedgehog? He's almost 15 years old. The Madden football series? It's been around for 20 years. Mario? He's been around for just over a quarter of a century. It's enough to make you wonder how many years you've spent playing video games. Then again, the memory is always the first thing to go.
4. You hooked up an Atari 2600 to your HDTV
In the late '70s, hooking up an Atari 2600 was easy. Connect a TV/game switch box to your TV, plug in the cable, flip the big on/off switch, then play until your fingers bleed. Modern televisions make it more difficult, with their newfangled audio/video, component or HDMI cables. Still, you buy all the adapters so you can play Pong on your $2,000 LCD TV, just to see those legendary pixels in their high-def (cough) glory.
5. All your favorite games are featured at classic game expos.
You love Space Invaders to death. You can't get enough Tempest. And yet you'll never see any sign of these games at current game expos, unless they're "remixes" or "revamps" for Xbox Live Arcade. To see your faves in all their glory, you have to attend classic gaming expos. Still, these expos have their benefits. You meet other gamers just like you, you get to play classics without being called an "old-schooler" and you might even meet a classic gaming hero or two. Cindy Morgan, for the win.
6. You still dream about starring in the movie Tron.
Tron was an instant classic for Walt Disney Studios, not only in the form of visual effects but also in story. It was the ultimate nerd's dream, a lowly computer programmer (a.k.a. Jeff "The Dude" Bridges) whisked into a virtual world. If you're an aging gamer, you still carry the slightest hope that you, one day, will finally be able to test drive a lightcycle and throw neon frisbees in your hand-crafted Tron suit.
7. You've never played Halo -- not even once.
When games like Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4 hit stores, other people wait in line to get a copy. You, however, are so busy perfecting your moves in Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! that you've totally ignored GTA, Halo and the Xbox in general. If you haven't taken the time to learn who Master Chief is (you know, the guy with the green helmet that was plastered all over your Doritos and Mountain Dew last year?) you're officially an old-man gamer.
8. You still prefer game cartridges over CDs
Screw discs. They get scratched too easily. No, you'd much rather own cartridges. Sure, you have to blow into them to make them work, but that's part of their retro charm. Besides, seeing a Battletoads cartridge sitting next to your copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl never gets tiring. It shows you're really old school.
9. Your dates involve Ms. Pac-Man.
When you go on a date, your first move is to give them the "Ms. Pac-Man test." If she can beat a level without eating any power pellets, then she's a winner. Sure, you could take her to more traditional venues -- a Putt-Putt golf course, Olive Garden or even a movie -- but instead you prefer a stop at a local video game-themed bar so you can see how they stack up with your dot-eating skills. Sometimes, your dates end with Ms. Pac-Man too.
10. You still play pen-and-paper role-playing games.
There's a certain part of you that may never get enough of the pen and paper role-playing games -- even though modern-age video games have seemingly replaced them. Therefore, you take it upon yourself to devote at least one Friday night a month to head down to the local role-playing Mecca to challenge other nerds like yourself to a session of spell casting and demon slaying. Then afterwards, you can all go out for beers -- or Slurpees, depending on your tolerance for ale.
11. Everyone who works in GameStop is younger than you.
It's not often your old school self is in a GameStop, but when it happens, it's really a sight to see. Most GameStop employees are young kids just trying to work their way through college, and some of them are unsure what you're talking about when you want to pre-order your copy of SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 (true story!).
12. You collect old-school game magazines.
Internet, schminternet. You don't need these new high-tech Web sites to get your gaming fix. You turn to more unlikely resources to get your fill -- a big, huge stack of classic game magazines. Whether you turn to EGM and the exploits of retired ninja Sushi-X or the adventures of the old school GameFan staff, you can't help but read them again and again.
13. You distinctly recall when and where you were during the 1983 video game crash.
Old folks like to talk about the Great Depression, you like to talk about the Great Video Game Crash of 1983. Whether it was the arrival of the ill-fated E.T. the Extra Terrestrial game for the Atari 2600 or the glut of really crappy games, you recall exactly where you were when the downward spiral began and ended. Let's hope that doesn't happen again anytime soon. It's too much drama to endure twice in one lifetime.