Author Topic: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer  (Read 3456 times)

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Offline Toonces

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Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« on: May 15, 2020, 06:57:32 PM »
I've been giving this some thought for a while, and it really struck home with me during the most recent DCS sale.

As I'm getting older, I'm finding I am increasingly unwilling to both try new games, and even more importantly, to invest myself in learning complex games.  The recent DCS sale was sort of the reality check that made me think of writing this.  Back in the day I would be so utterly thrilled with a sim like DCS.  I have a number of the modules and I have played it some, but at least half the modules I have I've never even installed, or have spent mere moments with.  When the latest sale popped, I thought for sure I was going to load up on some of the modules and maps I've been desiring: F/A-18, F-14 for sure.  Those jets are iconic to me, and the opportunity to finally get a true study sim of them is a dream come true.  Yet...I haven't bought them. 

As I downloaded some of the freebie trial stuff over the last few weeks, when I booted everything up I realized that I simply don't have the patience to spend the time to configure the controllers, not to mention actually learning how to do anything in the jets.  And on a similar note, I realized that with DCS once I got those two steps done I was still responsible for finding a fun way to fly them; ie. I would have to download or create my own missions.

I thought about it and I realized, why would I spend all that time?  If I want to fly a jet sim, I've got Falcon 4.0 that I've spent the last 20 years getting to know.  It just works.  And the dynamic campaign provides infinite replayability. 

I started digging into this subject and my own gaming habits and I see that I more or less follow this policy across the board.  Hex wargaming?  I have WitP:AE.  Armor simming?  I have Steel Beasts, but I can't keep up with the updates, and I don't have the patience to learn all of those vehicles either.  I'll stick to something simpler like ARMA or even SABOW.  Most of the newer Total War titles I haven't bought, and even Rome 2 hasn't gotten much play once they introduced that damn food mechanic.  I know how to play M2TW, I'll just stick to that thank you.  And so on.

I dunno.  I suppose this is what I always feared, that we'd finally start seeing the types of sims I've always dreamed of playing when I finally got too old and seasoned to give a crap.  I'm looking for more simplicity in my life, not more complexity.  Cold Waters is a prime example of this.  I like CMO and Dangerous Waters and such, but at the end of the day Cold Waters provides all the entertainment with none of the hassle.  I actually find myself preferring the lighter fare of a game rather than the sim of something like DW.  I can boot up Cold Waters and the game does all of the heavy lifting to find me something to do; I don't have to download anything and I don't have to create anything.

Overall I have a library of hundreds of games, but I'll bet there are only about 10 that I spend any time playing anymore.  They're all games that I've been playing for years, am comfortable with, and provide me whatever flavor of fix I'm looking for.  It really is too bad because I think we're entering a really great era of gaming.

Anyway, get of my lawn!   >:(

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Offline Barthheart

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 07:24:22 PM »
Preach it brother! Yer not alone.  :P

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 08:31:43 PM »
Right there with you man. I share your frustration at having to learn complex new game systems and rules. I just don't have the time anymore. I have NAPS to take!  >:(
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Offline Vintage Dude

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2020, 08:32:34 PM »
I have reached the age where I am in total agreement. I keep buying new games which look great but I don't have the desire to learn them. So, I keep going back to the old standbys. The games that I buy are improved versions of what I have loved in the past. However, I watch a few YouTube videos, mess with them some, and then say "screw it" and go back to the old faithful games. Aging can be a bitch.

Offline Vintage Dude

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2020, 08:34:53 PM »
There is a lot to be said for NAPS.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2020, 08:39:27 PM »
In my nap dreams, I'm always able to learn new games really easy.  :dreamer:
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Vintage Dude

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2020, 08:43:56 PM »
Everything looks better in your dreams. I would keep this conversation going but it's almost my bedtime.

Offline 88mmkwk

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 10:25:23 PM »
Toonces -

You have hit directly on a theme that is in my mind quite a bit these days.  I've come to recognize that as I get older, my excitement and desire to play a new game doesn't often match my actual ability to spend time learning it.  And as age increases the value of time remaining, I have come to realize that simple enthusiasm for seeing a new game that interests me cannot simply result in acquisition. To do so is a waste of my resources both in terms of time and finances.  I've noticed that as games get more complex and require more investment in learning time, I'm increasingly apt to get disappointed when I spend time to learn a new game only to find I am less than enthralled with the game for a long term time investment.  IOW, I have wasted precious time learning a game that I will simply kick to the curb.  So what's the outcome of all this?  Like you and other posters above noted, I now tend to stick to the familiar formulas as they are a known quantity and I know the games I like.  Believe it or not, I still occasionally play SSI's "Panzer Strike" on a C-64 emulator on my hyper-powered laptop setup.  Why?  It brings me great nostalgic value, I enjoy the relative simplicity of the game, and I like seeing a battle play out as my troops enact high level Command orders (not micromanaged) that I have issued earlier.  There's ZERO eye candy and I instead use my imagination to create a visual of the battle unfolding before me.  Crazy that this little C-64 tactical game from the 1980's can capture my imagination, but it still does and I'm sure this makes no sense to most folks....

But because so much neat eye candy and intriguing game systems are coming out, I find myself using YouTube to dive in to them.  Whereas I would have bought and played them 20-30 years ago, I instead use YouTube to watch "Lets Play.." series and soak in the game vicariously through someone else playing it.  I am especially fond of watching videos of any of the Graviteam games as I love the system beyond a level that I could ever be competent at playing.  But I admire it from a distance.  The good news is I can step away at any time in a YouTube video and come back when time allows.  Many of the deeper games released today require a constant immersion and time commitment that I simply cannot afford today.

I also play board games and find that games that are a series provide me the same value proposition.  I love GMT's "No Retreat" system and find that its easier to simply learn the unique difference rules for each game in the series vs. learning a whole new system.  Less time learning means more time playing (hopefully) competently for me.  The No Retreat board game system has modules for most fronts in WW2, and this lets me leverage what I've already taken time to learn and lets me start playing a new module more quickly.  Such is the same with computer games, as I have found that learning AGEOD game systems (Alea Jacta Est, Civil War 2, etc) lets me more quickly get into a new game than I could otherwise.  Even if I have some issues with the core system, I find great redeeming value in the overall ability to leverage what I've learned about the system to enable playing games across various widely different time periods.

The years have provided me personal insight into the reality that mental agility and patience/temperance fade with age no different than physical prowess and strength....I realize I need to clearly focus on the things I enjoy more than the things I hope I will enjoy....With all the above said, I love how much joy and happiness wargaming - computer or board gaming - and hanging out here with all you wise, witty and friendly folks provides me on a regular basis!  I will honestly admit that I come to Grogheads Forums to read before I ever boot up a game.  This place and everyone here is digital crack to me!
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Online airboy

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 10:30:53 PM »
The only saving throw is retirement.  You have so much more you can learn new game systems - if you want to. 

Since I retired I've learned at least 10 new game systems from very simple to moderately challenging.  I NEVER had the time to do this when I was working full time plus two other jobs that sometimes made me put in more hours than my full time job.

Something to look forward to.

Offline Toonces

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2020, 10:31:26 PM »
Man, that is a great quote:  "I realize I need to clearly focus on the things I enjoy more than the things I hope I will enjoy..."

You make a good point on the YouTube videos.  I've been really enjoying watching videos posted by Grim Reapers of DCS gameplay. 

I'm certainly not opposed to trying a new game if it's the right game.  I'm really looking forward to Task Force Admiral and Naval Warfare in the Missile Age.  They don't look overly complex, and the fun vs. investment factor is high.

The last game I bought, ironically enough, is Harpoon 3 Ultimate Edition, simply because I've been playing Harpoon forever, and I'm much more comfortable with it than with CMO...despite CMO being the better simulation.
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Offline Father Ted

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2020, 04:18:24 AM »
Good thread Toonces.  I was going to write a big long reply, but when it comes to it I find I can't be bothered...

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2020, 05:02:23 AM »
Age, responsibility, time, patience, etc. are all factors in this phenomena. However, for me it is cyclical. My tolerance for learning and sticking with a new complex game ebbs and flows...Iím not sure what prompts it, but over the last couple of years Iíd say Iíve made more progress in extremely complex games and simulations then I have in recent memory. Right now, Iím really unraveling Aurora. Before that, it was CMO. Iím always coming back to DCS when a new module comes out...but in between these great triumphs, there is a lot of down time, soul searching and doubt.

Stick with it bro, and donít over analyze. When the time comes to jump back in, youíll know it. Just roll with it.
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Offline rwenstrup

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2020, 05:16:31 AM »
It appears the trend has been to add more and more to the complexity of games ... but to me the real opportunity is to make games simple, with many scenarios and exceptional artificial intelligence ...
I look at some of the board game conversions like Blocks Richard III and see a great game engine, but no real computer opponent, wonder why on earth you wouldn't upgrade the graphics in Steel Panthers, etc.
It seems to me simple graphics, simple mechanics and a clever opponent is the key.

Offline twitter3

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2020, 08:31:20 AM »
I also find myself playing a handful of games I have owned for some time and know how to play fully. Games such as Forge of Freedom, Crown of Glory: EE, Wars in America 2, Campaign Series, Rise of Prussia to name a few. I find a book that matches the game period and then read and play and find that by doing that the book and game brings me more understanding of the topics.

Offline Vintage Dude

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Re: Reflections of a grumpy, middle-aged gamer
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2020, 09:38:30 AM »
I also come here for my initial information about a game. Every game that I have bought in the last few years, I first heard about here. I do find myself being more interested in simpler games instead of the complex, micromanagement hell, monster games of years past. All of the information available here and elsewhere seems to be a double-edged sword. I find myself watching videos and researching games more than actually playing them.