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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 August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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