The Gaming Evolution for an Aging Gamer

I have seen 3 decades of Gaming in my lifetime and I am now in my 4th decade.  Games have evolved and devolved.  Gaming styles and techniques have changed along with gaming accessories and platforms.  To each their own way of gaming, whether they prefer the comfort of their couch, behind a computer screen or, as of lately, on their cell phones which aren’t really used for talking to others anymore.

As much as I would like this post to be strictly about gaming and my love for it, I have been there and done that.  Instead, I want to touch upon how Gaming, as a genre, and how myself, as a lifetime gamer, has moved with the times.

For the most part of the past 7 years, I spent time (and plenty of my hard earned money on computer upgrades) behind my computer screen with headphones attached to my ears battling along with strangers who only had voices and no faces, for the most Epic gear in town.  Before that, I would be in front of my tv and PS2 spending days on end getting through that RPG I simply HAD to finish.

However, as of lately, I have stepped away from computer gaming which consisted of mostly just Candy Crush or Wizard 101 with The Boy.  This is mostly because I’m just too busy with life but also because, I’m getting old.  I can’t sit at the computer as much as I used to and find that I just want to sleep or be relaxing on my couch if I’m in relaxation mode.  Usually, this is at the end of my work day and after my exercise regimen of the day, so relaxing is all I want to do.

I will admit, I miss tremendously being part of a guild in World of Warcraft and meeting, through a Ventrilo server and as a group of odd looking cartoon characters wearing colorful and elaborate robes or armor, to fight large fiery Dragons or green mechanical Doo-hikies.

The yell of victory as a team of 10 -20 strangers worked together to bring down even the most Epic Demon was a reward in itself.  However, the Purple staff I could possibly get to increase my healing ability outweighed any cries of victory.

All that I miss and those days are gone.  All those people are gone and who knows where they have spread out to.  Now, I found myself just playing Wizard 101 because I had started a Wizard with my kid and felt I might as well level it up.  After doing that for a while, I found that my zest for the thrill of a level up or getting new gear, was gone, and I realized it had actually left me a long time ago.

Until, I upgraded my cell phone.

Photo from Samsung.com

Photo from Samsung.com

Ah, cell phones.  How they, in and of themselves, have evolved.  I possessed my first cell phone circa 1996.  It was about as clunky as a large piece of metal which I held up to my ear.

Photo from CNN.com

Photo from CNN.com

It also never worked and usually ended up at the bottom of my bag.  I would usually rely on my pager for communications (yeah…remember the PAGER?).

Suddenly, cell phones became small, super small.  From the clunky metal phone that never worked, I progressed to a small silver contraption that was the size of a post it note.

Photo from howardforums.com

This is what I had. They called it a “Clamshell” and yup, it was no bigger than the palm of your hand. I don’t know how I even held it to my ear. I think my ear was bigger than this phone! Photo from howardforums.com

I was entertained by how cool some ring tones sounded and how small this piece of electronic was (but was not entertained when I couldn’t find the stupid thing in my abyss of a purse).

Small cell phones turned out to not be what the populace wanted.  Screens started to grow again.  Then, phones started to adopt elaborate helpful “apps”.  Now, screens were not just to see the number of the person you were calling but to check your bank account, check local weather and (to this lonely gamers joy) play a game or two.

Things in the cell phone world were still yet to evolve more, especially for me.  I didn’t jump onto the Smartphone bandwagon until about 2 years ago, when I got my first (crappy) smart phone.  I was pretty enthralled with it.  I learned its ins and outs and found that this could be a neat little diversion from a large computer screen.

2 years after my first Smartphone (which was a cheap old version of a Samsung) I upgraded to a Samsung Rush.  It had a much bigger screen and I could do so many apps but it was still an old version of a Samsung.  After a year with fooling around with that, my next Smartphone, which is my current one, is the Samsung Galaxy S3.  I wanted the 4 but settled for the 3.  I probably should have just gotten the 4.

That is when worlds opened.  I saw various games in the Play Store that were puzzle games, strategy games and just plain old “I’m bored but don’t want to sleep” games.

I fiddled through a few then decided to explore the realms.  I have since found something called Grumpy Bears.  It’s basically another “knock em down, get the points game” but it’s hilarious.  All different types of cutsie little teddy bears are on motorcycles and are chasing your pick up truck full of honey that they are ravenous for.  To keep them off your truck and off your honey, you pummel them with objects like bales of hay, wrenches, bombs and even a hypodermic needle which, when it hits a bear, injects a sleeping serum and the bear passes out on it’s motorcycle.  If they do get to your truck, they pounce on it and begin to rip the truck to shreds so you have to pummel them on the head with a mallet or a Thor hammer to get them off the truck.

(All photos from amazon.com)

Seriously, these are some pissed off teddy bears but the game is a riot and a half as they make funny noises when they get hit and flail their arms if they are burning.  It’s sad to see these cute bears getting mangled every which way but as they get closer, you can see the evil look in their eyes.

I also found a RPG type game called Knights & Dragons that I have been playing for the past few weeks and really like it.  I’m used to high detail graphics on a large computer screen but even though my screen has shrunk down from that and there is little action, per say, there are motivations to finish quests and earn gold.  I believe it to be World of Warcraft Lite, all the questing and leveling but no big graphics on a 32 inch monitor.

I mean hey! Nothing beats getting a notification icon on my phone telling me my Knights are all healed up and ready for battle!  I’m on top of it!

I’m sure I will find other games that will tickle my fancy on my little phone.  I may consider actually putting a bit of money into this game as well BUT, that might not happen until much later, if at all.

I’ve been enjoying it.  It’s different for me to be sitting on my couch with my little phone in front of me and not at my computer, in an uncomfortable chair, staring at a computer screen.

It’s simple.

It’s easy.

It’s adapting to me as an aging gamer.

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