It is bound to happen at some point in our lives. The time when the younger generation starts playing a game and us older/retro gamers start our sentences with, “Back in my day…” It always happens, we just don’t realize it is until it does and it happened to me some time ago. Before we get to that let me make something absolutely clear, this ISN’T an attack on the younger generation or the games the younger kids are playing these days. Full disclosure I’m only 29 years old and will be hitting the big 3-0 this November and I’m sure there are those who’ve read my articles and thought to themselves, “Well back in my day yada yada yada…” This also isn’t me pointing the finger at the older generation of gamers either, this is me realizing that I’ve reached a point in my life where I can see the generational gap among gamers, and it is interesting to say the least.
Lets start with when I first saw the gap. Some time ago I was at a friend’s baby shower and was talking to one of the guests. The subject of her son’s Switch came up and I asked him what games he was playing on it, hoping that the answer I would hear would be Zelda or Mario. Instead the young 8/9 year old said, “Fortnite” and I cringed. I tried to tell him that there are so many better games out there but he wouldn’t have it. Fortnite was his favorite and I knew there was no way I could convince him otherwise. It was on the way home when I was talking to my girlfriend about it when I realized I’ve hit the age where I can see the gap. Now I have played Fortnite before and I personally don’t like it. I know it’s one of the biggest games out right now and but it is just not my cup of tea. I don’t want to get into why I don’t like it but if you do then awesome, play what you love. The only battle royale game I do love playing is Tetris 99 because I freaking love Tetris. That aside both myself and my girlfriend realized that the times are changing. The type of games we love now aren’t really loved by the younger gamers of today. I thought back to when I started playing games and realized something that maybe that young man may realize as well. As we grow, our tastes change.
Back when I started I was a big platformer, FPS, and sports game player. I loved Sonic, Mario, DOOM, Crash Bandicoot, Mario Kart, the works. Yet if you were to ask younger me if games like Final Fantasy were good I would’ve said, “No.” Now as an adult the Final Fantasy franchise is one of my favorites of all time. My tastes in games changed. I still might play a sports game every once in a while, but now I want games with story, games with a history behind it, games that either test my skill or tell me a grand tale. That’s just what I like now. I’ll still of course play the games I loved as a kid, but the best part about video games nowadays, is that the classics are becoming more and more available to the younger kids.
One of the best things about us 80’s and 90’s kids growing up is that we’re having kids of our own. I personally don’t have kids yet, but I’ll tell you something that does give me hope for the next generation of gamers. The last few times I’ve gone to my local arcade it’s not just adults playing the old games of their childhood. It’s parent’s showing their kids the games they played when they were younger. I’ve always seen a family or two showing and playing with their kids their favorite arcade game. Showing them the tricks they know on how to get extra lives or get closer to that high score. The best part is that the kids like the games they are playing. Even though these are older, have cruder graphics, they’re still having fun. Even when I would go to a collector’s show I see families showing off and buying their younger kids retro games and telling them they played it when they were younger. It always makes me laugh when a kid realizes that their parents were playing Pokemon since before they were born.
If I ever do have kids, I’m going to teach them right so to speak by showing them how far games have come. My plan is to have them beat a few retro games (NES, SNES, Genesis and maybe 1 PlayStation game) and see how they like it before getting them into the more modern stuff. Of course there’s always a chance that my kids won’t like video games and that’s OK too. I’m sure that there are things that my parent’s liked that I don’t necessarily enjoy all that much and now, in a way, I’m experiencing what they did when I was growing up. There will always be a generational gap, and even though we may try to shrink it a little bit, it will still be there. We as retro gamers will still have our games and our game collections, and our kids will have games to play and show their kids some day. They may not be the games we like or enjoy, but at the end of the, playing games and having fun together is all that really matters.