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9 Things All 30-something Gamers Can Relate To

9 Things All 30-something Gamers Can Relate To

I am an aberration. Have been for most of my life. It wasn’t always this way.

I was the third child, a female, with two older brothers, and being a bit of a tomboy was probably somewhat predictable. But when the Atari 2600 came into our house, life as I knew it changed. For those who are not 30-somethings like me, it’s important to understand that the world of gaming became a “guy thing” from that point on. But that “guy thing” became “my thing” too, and today, as an avid female gamer, I still get weird looks and comments. No matter. But for all of you 30-something gamers out there, here are nine things we can all relate to.

1. We Don’t Abide Online Walkthroughs and Cheats

Having begun our gaming “careers” with the Atari and graduating to more sophisticated systems, even though they were still offline, we understand the sense of accomplishment of beating an opponent who sat next us. We didn’t have cheat sheets — it was all on us, baby. Too many gamers today just don’t have perseverance. The minute they run into trouble, they’re off to YouTube for the walkthroughs that some more advanced gamer is making money on.

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Where’s the challenge in that? Where’s the sense of accomplishment when the next level is reached all on your own? You cheated, so your accomplishment means nothing. We veterans, who grew up doing it all on our own, still do it that way — even if we are lying awake at night with unfinished puzzles in our heads and ruminating about different strategies to get to the next level. Get a clue — gaming is not supposed to be easy.

2. Joystick Envy: It Was a Real Thing

The original “joystick” was a computer keyboard. But as the gaming industry grew, of course, that had to change. We became airline pilots with sticks that could move in four directions and control where people, cars, and other figures moved around on the screen. It was great fun, and we thought gaming had reached a great pinnacle. Now we had a joystick and a couple of buttons — what more could we want?

But as the industry continued to “improve” the joystick design, and there were those who could afford the trendiest models, such as the Quickshot and the Cheetah 125, not to mention the Competition Pro, joystick envy became a real thing. Those who had the latest sticks had the advantage, so new joysticks hit every Christmas and birthday list.

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These joysticks were still personal, though. We had “relationships” with them. Then, along came ergonomic controllers from the likes of Microsoft and Sony. Sure, they’re easier to use, but they have taken the personal aspect out of the joystick, and that is a bit sad.

3. Graphic Design: Did We Really Care?

No, we didn’t. On the Commodore 64, there was the Hobbit game. It actually won an award for being the best strategy game in 1983 (I am a bit of a gaming trivia addict). The games we played had flat, two-dimensional designs — no HD backdrops and cinema. We finished a level before our very eyes and moved onto the next, before our very eyes. We were given prompts such as “Get Key” or “Shoot Dragon.” Our gaming was based upon logic and strategy, not romps around HD, 3D screens with hints to be found by pressing an “X.” We had no video graphics — just our brains and a logical puzzle to solve that would get us out of a tunnel.

4. We are Still Huge Fans of Old Video Games

Yes, we have adapted. We play with strangers with “handles” from places of unknown origin. We use the latest ergonomic joysticks, and we compete to win. We were gaming while some of our competitors were still in diapers. No matter.

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But every now and then, the nostalgia hits. We pull that old Atari or Commodore out (I still have both) or we go to an arcade that still has a Ms. Pac-Man machine.

We remember “Frogger,” where the only violence was being eaten by an alligator or squashed by traffic, as we tried to get him across the road. There was skill and strategy involved, and an emotional connection that we don’t often feel as we chop off heads or tear out hearts and spinal cords of our enemies today. That frog had our hearts and we were sad when he died.

5. We are Old Enough to Afford the Latest and Coolest Gadgets

As we have evolved, so have gaming consoles and gadgets. We are in our 30s, gainfully employed, and no longer have to ask mom and dad or Santa for the latest. So, while younger gamers are trying to figure out what they can sell, pawn, or trade for the next new gadget, we already have it. Personally, I have a closet shelf of joysticks, and my latest purchase? An Oculus Rift Developer Kit — we’ll see where that takes me!

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6. We Join the Teens for Midnight Launches

There was no such thing as a midnight launch when we began to game. We went to the store and bought the newest joystick, game, or system. Now, we find ourselves bundled up in coats and hoods, wrapped in blankets, drinking our hot coffee that a friend has dropped off, and all for what? To be there when the door opens, line up, and get that game that has been hyped for months. We triumphantly exit the store with our coveted “prize,” get home, pop it into our gaming system, play for a few minutes, and pass out exhausted. Our younger counterparts, who don’t have to get up for work in the morning, are playing all night.

7. We Get Warned About Addiction

I have a friend who is in AA — she has been sober for three years, and, to be quite frank about it, she has become my conscience. I don’t like it. As she explains to me often, some people have a propensity for addiction — scientists have isolated a gene. She thinks I have it. Her evidence?

  • I can game for hours and lose track of time
  • I have more than once gone into work bleary-eyed because some new game has consumed me all night long
  • I have cancelled other social activities when a new game has me enthralled.

Addiction is real. I have read the science, and I understand that addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, social media, and, yes, even gaming, can wreak havoc in people’s lives. In response, I have now set scheduled times for gaming, although I do “slip” a bit.

8. We Do Some Really Crazy Things to Try Our Own Repairs

Years ago, when our games didn’t work, the “fix” was just to blow in them — yes, we literally blew air from our mouths. And often it worked. Now, when something goes awry, we get online and try every crazy remedy that someone recommends. I have put towels on my Xbox 360, still blow into Game Boy cartridges, and send the system in for repair only as a last resort — my separation anxiety is real.

9. Real Violence: We had to Switch on a Code

We remember the cheat code ABACABB. If we had SEGA, that moved us to the uncensored, more violent killing in Mortal Kombat. It’s no longer necessary, of course, but we still remember the code and whisper it to each other when our boss has been getting us really mad.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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