Originally Posted by evensen007
I've been thinking about this on and off for the last 5-8 years. I'm 38 years old now and have this strange feeling in my gut every time I visit this site or see an old email or post about a video game I used to play. It's an uncomfortable combination of nostalgia, sadness, and shock at how fast years seem to fly by. On that last point, I always have this sinking feeling when I get reminded of a game I used to play (Dragon Age: Origins and Baldur's Gate were recent ones) and then realize how long ago it was that I played and enjoyed those games. This might be something that only the older people on here may relate to, but it's something that happens to me often and tugs at my heart in a strange way. In some sense, I believe that those games are time markers that relate to a part of my life (I was only 20 years old when Baldur's gate came out!?), but they also make me yearn for a time in my life when I actually had the TIME to play video games for more than an hour every month or two. I imagine those of you with kids feel this sensation even harder than I do. I've been working on my life these past 8 years (which I have not regret about) and have dabbled back into games on and off during that time. I can't IMAGINE though sitting down to a game like Baldur's Gate again and actually being able to get through it and enjoy it. That makes me sad. I don't even really have any friends that play games or especially know games that I used to play back in the day that still give me such great memories. I had some friends back in my old state and job that used to get together for some Battlefield 4 and then most recently BF1. BF1 lasted about 3-4 months for us and then it waned.
I don't even really know what I'm trying to say with this post or if it even belongs in this sub-forum. Maybe I think I'm just trying to reach out to fellow former gamers my age that have felt this same uneasy feeling as you've gotten older. Maybe the broader sense and feeling is what most normal people recognize as getting older in general and becoming hyper aware of the shockingly fast passage of time. Sometimes I'll read my old posts from 5, 6, 7, 8 years ago and fondly remember caring about and putting quality time into gaming. Sometimes I'm scared that I really have outgrown games and it would never be the same anyway. There's a guy I talked to about the dream of having 6 months off of life so that I could go back and replay some of my favorite games from the old days, and maybe burn through some games in the backlog that I've always wanted to try. But maybe I wouldn't even want to once I did have the time. Who knows. Whatever the case, games will always hold a very dear and nostalgic place in my heart.
Yes... and no. I think what you’re going through is part of the process of maturing, as an individual, and, in part, “getting old”. I don’t mean that in the bad sense (I’m 36), but in the sense that you start looking at things for what they are and have grown past the age of following the latest trend and pursuing entertainment as a form of “occupation”.
I remember seeing that anything (technological) that you experience and learn before you’re 35 (or so) is cognitively embraced by your brain and becomes part of your nature, and after that it becomes stuff “that kids these days do/use” (I need to find this quote). As part of that, you develop a lot stronger nostalgia. The problem with nostalgia is that it’s heavily biased and colored. The games that you *used* to play, especially at a different stage of your life, now hold a level of pleasure and satisfaction in your memory that newer games can’t achieve (this has to do with how our brain stores pleasurable memories). You become disenchanted with current trends/games, and nothing seems to reach that level of pleasure you had years ago. Even going back and revisiting some of those games won’t restore that because part of the pleasure was bound to that time/stage of your life, not just the game itself.
Another huge thing is how, as you age, the value of things changes from pursuit of pleasure and satisfaction to legacy and “mark in the world”. It’s pretty normal and a good thing, really...
All this to say: what you’re going through isn’t odd or a sad thing. It’s part of the human process of maturing and aging. It just tends to happen at a later stage in life nowadays (late 30s), which coincides with some changes in the wiring of your brain as well... Go back a few centuries (maybe decades only!) and you were a grown adult by the time you hit 16 or so. You’d have to face adulthood for about 20 years before all that crazy stuff started triggering in your brain. Now it all happens at pretty much the same time...
If games no longer bring you satisfaction, maybe it’s time to move on from games. On that same note, if the reason why you play games is to socialize or use some part of your brain that doesn’t normally get stimulated, than do it in moderation, and never force trying to enjoy games like you did 5-10-20 years ago.
Congratulations: you’re now a mature adult!