Am I too old for games? There seems to be a stigma to being a gamer. Those who grew up before gaming was mainstream have this erroneous perception that gamers are lazy, irresponsible, and socially inept (i.e., nerdy/geeky). Despite the greater variety of mature games many still seem to associate videogames with a pasttime suited solely for childhood and adolescence. Some have even argued videogames increase a youth's propensy for violence and crime (see NCPC, 2008). While initial research findings (Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007) have since been disputed (see Ferguson, Olson, Kutner, & Warner, 2010) and the appreciable impact of videogames on violence legally reprimanded (Brown v. EMA, 2011), there continues to be an apprehension to the medium and its many fans by the former generation (much like their reluctance to technology in general). Perhaps this is merely a part of a larger gap in generations; the baby boomers and the millennials (see Keeter & Taylor, 2009). However, some are starting to realize that video games have many positive attributes that can be integrated into the educational and business realms resulting in improved motivation, performance, and outcomes (see Smith, 2010).
*See Gamespot's special news feature on the "Games' Day in Court" here.
So it would seem that despite stark opposition and a plethora of half-baked stereotypes, gaming is the future. One of the common mistakes that non-gammers make is that they tend to take a few examples of popular video games and generalize the attributes of those to all games. Are there violent, gorey, and offensive video games? Yep, there's a bunch (e.g., God of War, Grand Theft Auto). Are there games that provide positive depictions of human interaction, justice, and compassion? Yes! (e.g., Hotel Dusk, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Mass Effect, Valkyria Chronicles, Uncharted). Games can be brutish, but they can also be intellectually stimulating, you just have to know where to look. It seems politicians, in their attempt to villify videogames, have focused their sights primarily on the offenses of a few racey games. So I don't think I'm too old for games, and I don't think there's an age limit, but what do you think? Am I in denial and need to grow up already!?