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Confessions of a 52 year old gamer Stuck
Posted on November 21, 2008 at 11:08 AM.
Did he really say 52?? Well, yes...it's true. I am one of the few and proud...an elder statesman, if you will. I bet most of you can't imagine being my age and still playing the latest sports releases. Let me assure you of something...you will be following in my footsteps.

A little history first. I was born in 1956. I actually remember JFK on television confronting the Soviets, and yes, we all thought we were going to die in a nuclear holocaust in a few days. We had drills in elementary school where they made us walk across the playground to the "bomb shelter" which was really the basement of the church. I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I saw the moon landing on a black and white tv in which the vertical hold never worked and the picture flipped up and down constantly..but that's what we had to deal with in those days. I survived disco (ugh) and watched Nixon's resignation on live tv. But how and why did I get into gaming?

When I was a kid in the 1960's we had board games like Roger Maris baseball, Tudor Electric Football, All Star Baseball...and that was about it! We used our imagination and created our own games, usually with baseball cards, but most of our activity was outside playing the game for real on green grass under blue skies. My friend and I used to play one on one "speedball" and keep stats in a notebook. The foundation was there, as we pretended to be Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Maris, Ford, Seaver, etc. The difference between what I am doing now vs what I did as a kid is really not that great...I am still living vicariously through gaming. I must admit, I still get out and throw batting practice to my 20 year old son on occasion, and take a few cuts myself. The love of the game will never die and as long as I can walk I will continue to do so. Gaming cannot replace that.

I didn't jump on the video game bandwagon when the Ataris hit the market back in the 1970's and 1980's. I had a girlfriend who had Space Invaders, and of course Pong, but that was the extent of my gaming. I was still young enough to play for real, and that's what I did. I had a tryout for the Yankees and Blue Jays in the mid-1970's and the love of the game kept me on the field rather than searching for video alternatives. However, eventually, the body breaks down, the arm isn't as strong, 5 or 10 pounds gets added to the waistline, and chasing skirts seems a better alternative than chasing fly balls.

I started getting into gaming in the 80's and 90's with titles like Earl Weaver Baseball, an IBM Football game (name escapes me), Hardball, Front Page Sports Football and Baseball. These were fabulous games considered state of the art back then, and hundreds of hours were spent reliving my childhood, playing with oldtime teams and pouring through volumes of stats. My son was born in 1988 and this actually caused me to get more and more into gaming as my time was restricted...no longer could I disappear for doubleheaders on a weekend in a local baseball league. Also, having a child allows you to buy things for him that you really want...like G.I. Joes, baseball cards, video games, etc. "But honey, he'll love it! After all, I did as a kid.".

Well, the games advanced as did the pc and consoles. Games became more and more realistic. Players started to actually look like their real-life counterparts, stadiums started to become ultar-realistic (hey..I sat right there!), audio was recorded and imported into the games so you felt as if you were in the stadium watching. No longer did you feel as if you were playing a "game", per se, but it was almost like you were out there pitching, hitting, and chasing those long fly balls again. It wasn't as good as working up a sweat and pressing a button is never as satisfying as the way the ball feels on the wood (yes, wood) bat when you really tag one, but it was a decent substitute.

Why haven't I grown out of it? What keeps me around looking for the best rosters for the latest batch of baseball and football games? Why do I spend thousands of hours creating historic teams for NFL2K5? I guess because although I am 52, I never really "grew up." I am still that teenager throwing the 10 yard out pattern to my friend, playing one-on-one basketball, speedball against a school wall with a strike zone drawn in chalk. My friends are gone...moved away or "grew up." There is no one to play with anymore. My youth is a fading memory, as my son becomes a man...my daughter seemingly changes overnight from a 15 year old innocent to a sullen, angry teen with boys nipping at her heels. My hairline is gone and the jeans from last year seem a bit tighter now. What is there to hold onto? Where is my escape?

This is why I still play. I can be 16 again. I can lose myself for a few hours in something that is harmless and safe. I can be challenged in the same way I was when my friend reared back and tried to throw a fastball by me. Sure, I am still a dad, a husband, a project manager for a major company...but I am also one of you. A gamer. A guy who loves the details...loves the games.

As the games get more and more realistic and immersive, it becomes harder and harder to walk away from them. You'll see. Trust me. When you are all playing Hologram Baseball 2015 be sure to look me up...I'll be right there with you...God willing...

Chris
Comments
# 1 RaychelSnr @ Nov 21
Awesome blog post man!
 
# 2 rudyjuly2 @ Nov 21
I hope to be playing at 52 as well! 36 right now.
 
# 3 elprez98 @ Nov 21
Nice Blog. I'm 31 with no kids, but a wife who is getting more and more into gaming. I hope to make it up there like you.
 
# 4 clarkerots @ Nov 21
Awesome!! God bless you! I also don't see myself putting down the controller by the age of 52 (have a ways to go). Most would say that today's graphics would pull anybody into gaming but I'll go the other way. You mentioned the IBM football (I believe the football game with actual X's and O's on the monitor), Earl Weaver Baseball, and the Front Page Sports games. Honestly, with quality games like those that simply immersed the unsuspecting gamer in, you didn't have a chance. In retrospect, the end of the Front Page Sports Football line was more devastating than the end of 2K Football.
 
# 5 coachlenny @ Nov 21
Game on!!!
 
# 6 statum71 @ Nov 21
37. Stopping no time soon!!!!

How could I, games just keep getting better and better.

Anyways now days games ARE made for adults.
 
# 7 Blitzburgh @ Nov 21
38 here guys! I only play the sports games but yes it gets harder and harder to walk away but I must admit, when EA got the rights, my love for the games and online playing died out quite a bit. I remember it disticlty, as I think I went back to being a 10 year old again and felt very empty and almost cried! haha
 
# 8 jczar78 @ Nov 21
30 going on 31 sports gamer and I don't see myself ever putting the controls down. Plus after a day of teaching(2nd Grade) nothing relaxes me more than playing for a little bit.
 
# 9 Steve_OS @ Nov 21
Great blog capa! I know I'll be gaming when I hit that age as well...
 
# 10 dodgerblue @ Nov 21
Great blog, you've got a decade on me, but I know how you feel! I used to play strat-o-matic as a kid, now I play the show! It keeps you young!
 
# 11 LingeringRegime @ Nov 21
34, and I understand so much what you say. There was a time when I was away from gaming, but now I see it as a way of escape from my stressful life. Thank you for sharing and for helping me see why I play too.
 
# 12 hdaniel1 @ Nov 21
Quote:
"However, eventually, the body breaks down, the arm isn't as strong, 5 or 10 pounds gets added to the waistline, and chasing skirts seems a better alternative than chasing fly balls."
I laughed when I read that line.

Anyways, awesome blog post capa!
 
# 13 HiJumpr111 @ Nov 21
I'm 41 and I can see me playing as long as my arthritic hands can hold onto a controller.....Wait maybe by then, all on screen motion will be voice activated. YIPPPEEEE!!!

Great read, Chris! Made my week.
 
# 14 GoodVela @ Nov 22
Keep gaming! Nice read!
 
# 15 stench96 @ Nov 22
Great read mate,i'm 45 and am waiting for the wife to go to bed so i can hook up the 360 on the plasma and play some fifa09!!!!
 

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