How have your gaming habits changed as you get older?

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Sombre

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Hey gang,

Like many of you, I've been gaming since I was a kid. My first console was an NES, and a PC that had Windows 3.1. I remember my first games being Ski-Free, Wolfenstein 3-D (The first, awesome, shareware stage with Hitler in the Mecha-Suit), Super Mario Bros, and Mega Man 3 (Snake Man's stage was my favourite).

Growing up, I played a LOT of videogames. I remember having my world absolutely ROCKED by Super Mario World, and I remember getting Super Mario Kart for Christmas one year. Fuck me that was a good year.

However, growing up, my parents were a little skeptical about videogames. I was allowed 30 minutes of screen time a night, and this was back in the 90s! I would usually do a few levels of World, or the excellent "Chaos Engine", which, one night, I spent the ENTIRE thirty minutes of gametime randomly putting in passwords to see if I got one to work (By the way, if you want a world 3 start, with a fully upgraded Scientist, I suggest putting all T's in. I found that one night when I was pumping in passwords :D). I remember one night, I was told I was allowed 30 minutes of Super Nintendo or Gameboy. I tried to fool my folks. I went round to my next door neighbours, where we played Sonic 2's exquisite battle mode for 45 minutes. When I came home, I said to my mum, "I'm gonna have my Mario Kart time now" and she slammed me with "I KNOW YOU WERE PLAYING SEGA WITH DARREN" and I got banned for 3 days.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: How has your time with games changed since you were growing up?

I failed my first year of university 'cause I was playing too much World of Warcraft. I never told my parents, but I think they knew!

Nowadays, I guess things are a little different. I find it really hard to commit to playing games, ya know? I kinda only play at weekends now, as by the time I've finished work, I'm frequently too tired to sit down and game. And I know how daft that sounds! But, I work with kids, right. And I have such an absolute BLAST hanging out with them every day, and teaching them, and helping them to become the best future leaders they can be. I'm up at 7:30 for a shower, then I usually work till 4, then home at 5, cause I have to walk (I don't own a car!)

And by that time, I'm usually just BEAT. I plop myself in front of Twitch/Youtube/Giantbomb and just watch absolute shite until I'm ready for bed. Then I put twitch on in bed, and fall asleep to that.

Don't get me wrong, when the weekends come around, I game like an absolute fiend. We're talking up at 9, gaming through till 12 the next morning. But my sessions are sporadic as shit. I might play 30 minutes of Pillars of Eternity, then break for an hour. Then I'll pick up Cadence of Hyrule, do 3/4 screens, then realise I've had enough. I suppose what I'm saying is...I miss being a kid. I would have such enthusiasm for games, ya know?

Nowadays, if my sessions last for over an hour, I'm surprised. I just can't commit anymore, cause I feel like...when I'm gaming, I'm letting life slip by me, and I wish I could use that time more effectively.

I've rambled. How have you changed your gaming habits growing up friends?

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JasonR86

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They've changed quite a bit. I'm 33 now, work full time, and have actively tried to become more social and active. Which means I have way less time for games. I went from playing 2-3 hours of games per night to maybe 3-6 per week, unless I'm really into a game. I also have a lot less patience for games. If I find myself getting too frustrated, I just stop playing. Or, I'll play the game on an easier difficulty. I don't have the energy to get really good at a game anymore. There are exceptions, like the Souls games, but that exception proves the rule. I also find myself favoring slower paced games. I'm realizing that I can't keep up with really fast games anymore. Bullet-hells are out of the question for me now.

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Tom_omb

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#3  Edited By Tom_omb

As a kid (I was born in 85) I games were very social. I played NES at daycare, and friends' houses a lot. It seemed like the NES was a staple at any house I visited, but I didn't have a console till the SNES. That social trend continued, I didn't play games to beat them, more just that experience of passing the controller and for fun. Although, I was an only child. I didn't have a lot of games, a few Mario games and some bad licences games. Still I played fighting and sports games with friends.

When I got a N64 things changed a bit. My friends didn't have consoles, but we still played a lot of multiplayer games like Mario Kart and Goldeneye. I was more aware of what games were worth playing and read gaming magazines. Mario 64 was probably the first game I ever beat. I began to become more of a completionist and fell in love with single player games, like Zelda.

After the N64, my friends weren't as interested in games and I became more of a single player guy. Although we did still play Perfect Dark fairly regularly for about 10 years. The primary exception being WoW, in the early days I was very guild focused. Even that I play as an essentially single player game now when I return for each new expansion for a little while.

In the past decade I've followed Giant Bomb and other game podcasts/sites. Early in the Steam days I'd buy more than I play to try and keep up with these game focused communities. Lately I've been playing fewer new games, as I wait for sales and being pretty picky about what I play. It's pretty intimidating how much stuff is out there these days. Occasionally I'll return to old games I love or always meant to play. I'm following fewer game focused content for the sake of more diverse podcasts and streaming videos.

I also write about all the games I play here, I should probably share it more:

https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/tom_omb/lists/

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nateandrews

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#4 nateandrews  Online

@sombre said:

I'm up at 7:30 for a shower, then I usually work till 4, then home at 5, cause I have to walk (I don't own a car!)

I also get out at 4 and don't get home till 5, and I own a car!

My video game habits have been very multiplayer focused since I've gotten older, probably because it allows me to connect with my friends from school since we're all scattered now. I'll still put 100 hours into a good open world single player game, or absorb every inch of a game like Dishonored or Prey, but more often than not I'm putting more time into a multiplayer game that I've already played for 300 hours. It also scratches the competitive itch I developed at an early age playing school sports.

It also helps that multiplayer games nowadays have a much longer lifespan than last generation.

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nutter

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I mostly stopped playing games in my teens...I’m glad I did because that was a lot of fun living.

I picked them back up around the time I got engaged, slowing down my nightlife and settling into married life.

Then having kids slowed things down again. They’re still slow. Some of it is career, some of it is parenting, some of it is other hobbies. But I’m definitely in something of a lull.

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Ginormous76

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As a kid, I gobbled up video games. I would rent or borrow games and typically finish them within a day or two. I had time to enjoy and finish Final Fantasy games (I have played all of the numbered games except 14 & 15). I also was able to playthrough and enjoy RPGs. Now, RPGs are too big. I somehow finished Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami 1 & 2 over the last 2 years (each one took me 4-6 months though). Now, a game that is 8-12 hours seems just perfect.

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jamesyfx

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The world has changed a lot since I was a kid. I used to get excited to go to the local video game store and look at all the box art, imagining what the game might be like. I'd also look through the bargain box of loose cartridges to see if I could find anything special at the right price. So any game I bought was very special, and I gave it tons of time, even if I didn't quite enjoy it.

These days tho.. As I can just get anything I want, pretty much whenever I want.. I'll probably play a game for a few days at best unless something about it really intrigues me.. in which case I'll put more time and effort into it.

I don't play multiplayer games any more - purely because I can't find the time to play at a regular time, and often I'll need to bail out at a moments notice...

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glots

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I used to re-play/mess around in games a lot more even after I'd finished the story, just for fun, hours at a time. A lot of that I'm sure had to do with the fact that I couldn't just buy any game I want like nowadays, so I'd try and get the most out of everything I got. But I'm sure my more care-free life as a kid/teen also played into it a lot too.

I think it was a year or two after this generation of consoles launched that I'd just begin to give up more easily on games if they didn't click with me within the first few hours. I think being in a not very great relationship and having a taxing job played a big part in it. I still do play games, but I feel like it's gotta be something flashy and easily approachable for me to stick around and not just leave it unfinished, excluding some smaller games that somehow manage to grab me.

But even with games that I do like and finish, it's extremely rare for me to get back to them to either re-play the whole thing or just do something dumb in an open world. Last big game I re-played was Doom, which started as me just wanting to see how it ran on my new PC, then just ending up playing through the whole game again. I think playing Rage 2 before that actually helped, because the shooting in that game was the only good part of it, but it was still behind Doom in quality, so playing Doom just felt so good that I wanted to keep going.

TLDR: Got older, got a job, less (mental) energy to play games. I do sometimes also wonder how my gaming habbit would currently look like if I hadn't spent A LOT of years almost solely playing WoW.

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Paliv

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#9  Edited By Paliv

As a kid I would play as much as my parents/obligations would let me. In high school and college I played at least a couple hours every 2-3 day, if not more. Now I have a family and am lucky if I get a few hours a week to sneak it in. Time is at a premium with small children in the house. My awesome wife makes sure I get at least one hobby night a week to get some game time in. I used to finish a game or two every month, minimum. Now it takes me a couple months or more to complete even shorter games. I have gravitated more towards pick up and play CoD and other multiplayer games since they can be a quick hit and dropped quickly when a baby wakes up. If I could I would play as much as I used to, maybe I’ll get back there one day. But, time with the kids is valuable and short.

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inevpatoria

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I'm in my 30s now. Ten years ago, coming out of college, I suppose I expected my gaming habits to flag or fatigue somehow. At the end of the PS3/360 generation I had a moment of serious consideration, thinking maybe that was the window to drop gaming for good.

But that never really stuck. I probably enjoy video games more now than I ever did, though I admit I play a certain amount less.

To this point, my life has been more or less career-focused. Not having children means my time outside of my career stays somewhat flexible. I'm lucky to be able to use at least a portion of that time with the video games that appeal to my tastes.

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Justin258

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As a child, all I did was play video games.

As a teenager, I played a lot of video games, especially shooters, and inline whenever I could get away with running an ethernet cable through the house.

As a college student, I had a job and some extra money and Steam sales were in full swing and I got way into JRPG's. I bought a lot of huge RPG's, perhaps too many, and never finished a lot of them. I actually spent most of my "game time" during these years watching someone else, almost always, Giantbomb, play games.

As a mid 20-something, I got a full time job and I just bought all sorts of games and tried everything, really, but barely finished anything. These years gave me a huge backlog that I will never get through, and frankly quite a few games I'm just not into.

Now I'm 28, I turn 29 this year, and last year my gaming habits changed drastically. I'm kinda back to how I was as a kid. I don't buy that much, though these days it's because I got tired of wasting money on games I was mever going to play. Instead, I buy a few games and make a real effort towards getting all I can out of them. As a result, I have finished three games over the past year twice - RE2, Bloodstained, and Subnautica - and played quite a lot of games that I already owned and had played before. Since this habit change, I have enjoyed games a hell of a lot more than I have since childhood.

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Efesell

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Honestly it hasn't all that much. I was kind of just a shut in as a child who played a lot of games and went to school, and now I'm a shut in as an adult who plays a lot of games and also goes to work.

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mrangryface

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A thousand times yes. As an adult with a partner and four senior animals my life is very much interrupt driven. I split my time between mobile games and games on PC/Switch that I can disengage from relatively quickly. I do go at maybe 1-2 RPGs a year that I complete over 1-2 months a piece when everyone is asleep.

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MonkeyKing1969

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My expreines is as other have described:

As a kid 6-15 I could play for hours straight without issue, and 24 hours with tiny breaks was common.

From age 16 to 24 I didn't play games much, and I am SO GLAD I didn't play.

In my late 20s, if I had a day off, I could play for hours and a full day if I loved a game. I could play a game every day during my free time without issue.

In my 30s if there was a game I loved I could and would play two four hour sessions on a day off in among other chores.

By my 40s, I could play something like liked for a few week stretch a few days a week for 2-3hrs. Its the same at 50, you play when you want to, but you likley would rather get up and move before you back get stiff

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Ben_H

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My habits have changed substantially, especially over the last couple years.

I play way fewer games now and mostly older games. I buy the odd new Nintendo game for Switch or something on PS4 if it's on sale but that's about it at this point. I used to play a ton of games on PC but last year I only bought two games on Steam and between those and the games I already owned I maybe played 50 hours in total over the whole year, probably a lot less. Tack on another 50 hours of Starcraft 2 that I played before quitting again and I hit a bit under 100 hours in total (I just checked and I haven't played a game on Steam since early November 2019). I used to play 20-30 hours of PC games a week to put things into perspective. I honestly don't think I'm going to buy a new gaming PC even though mine is nearly 8 years old now. I'd rather use that money on a new laptop or music gear or one of my other newer hobbies. I've been trying to cut back on games in general and spend time on other things like music, fitness, and cooking.

My thing now is to play a game an hour every day or three before bed and that's about it. It took me almost 2 months to play through Assassin's Creed: Odyssey on PS4 doing this, and I think I enjoyed it a lot more that way rather than playing for many hours a day like I used to. I'm doing the same thing now with Life Is Strange and I'm having a blast playing the game in small chunks like this. This way will also work much better once I'm working full-time again. It feels like a much healthier way to go about playing games and it gives me something to look forward to each day.

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wollywoo

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#16  Edited By wollywoo

I find myself less interested in games with a significant time commitment and deep story and more interested in action-based games and roguelikes. I am seeing gaming more and more as a side activity to occupy part of my brain while I watch youtube or listen to podcasts. I'll always make time for certain AAA games like God of War or Zelda, but it's becoming less common for me.

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jimmyoct87

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While I can still enjoy a long game if I'm really into it, I much prefer a tight 8-10 hour experience.

Also, I didn't used to play alot of multiplayer games, but now that I am much more time limited, I really love jumping in for a quick round or two of something then getting on with life.

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militantfreudian

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My parents had a low opinion of video games as a hobby, so I was always reluctant to ask them for money to buy games, which is why I tended to replay games often and gravitated toward lengthier games like Bioware's. Now, with a steadier income, I pretty much just buy whatever I want, although I'm generally frugal, so I rarely splurge on video games.

As for time spent playing, I feel like I play games about as much as I used to as a kid. I had to self-regulate then to avoid the risk of getting lectured, and also because I felt a bit guilty about playing games.

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Pezen

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Not that much honestly, but it varies mostly depending on if I’m in a relationship or not. The time between my ex wife and my current SO, I was gaming probably more than I did as a kid. I had weekends that were spent entierly playing games. These days, living with my SO, I definitely play less. Which had made finishing games harder as I play in such irregular bursts that I end up getting excited about new releases and buy them before finishing what I was playing. The only time I finish games these days is if they really hook me and I can’t go to something else until it’s finished.

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someoneproud

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I definitely play less these days due to full time work and a weekly piss-up to see folk. What I play really hasn't changed however and it's still my go-to way to unwind when I have free time.

I tend to play at least a few hours a day and pretty much the whole weekend but when I was a kid or there's a work gap it's pretty much all I did/do. I'm a deeply selfish person so my "relationships" don't last past the initial spark unless it's seriously casual and that's the way I like it, frankly.

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billmcneal

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I have less time to play games now that I'm older, and when I do play games it is for shorter periods of time.

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laughingman

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I've come to prefer short, tight play sessions where I feel like I accomplished something nowadays. While I still love my epic RPGs, it's becoming harder and harder to stay with them unless they're extraordinarily compelling. I'm much more likely to spend an hour doing a few runs of a Roguelike than playing anything else.

Part of this is that I have less time for games than I used to. I'm in my 40s. I teach and train teachers. I have a relationship. I just don't have the uninterrupted time to dive into things like I did in my teens and 20s. It's inevitable, and while I'm a little sad I don't have that time my life is immeasurably richer than it was back then.

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BaneFireLord

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Despite being busier than I ever was as a kid, I actually play significantly more since I no longer have parental restrictions on how much time I can play/what days of the week I can play on...mom and dad were very much of the "this crap rots your brain" mindset. While playing much more, I ironically finish way fewer games because I now have money and can easily get a new game if I get bored with a current one.

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ShaggE

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I noticed that I became far more fickle around the time I turned 30 (33 now), and a game has to truly be something special to really grab me. I still play arguably too many games, but I drop games much more quickly than I used to unless they have that certain something. Like most kids, I grew up milking every last drop of entertainment out of every game I had, since getting a new game was a rare and special event. Now that I can play (or watch, or read, or listen to) something new any time I want, my attention span for a game took a hard dive.

Entertainment overload. On the one hand, it's awesome. On the other, it sort of makes me long for when I could play a game I wasn't even all that fond of for endless hours and learn to really appreciate. I often think about the fact that I could take the average rejected modern game that collects dust in my collection after 5 or 6 hours back to child-me and he'd sink an insane amount of time into it, getting to know every frame of animation and gameplay mechanic intimately. Man, I miss that. Hell, even in most of my 20s, I could really dig deep into most games. Now, I'm lucky if there's more than two releases a year that do that for me.

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finaldasa

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#25 finaldasa  Moderator

I don't think I attribute my gaming habits to my age, but to my lifestyle.

When I was 18/19/20 I played way fewer games. I had more social time since I live in a dormitory and my priorities were much more focused on drinking and how to be drinking.

Nowadays my friend group isn't looking for a house party or a good bar, we're playing games online together or just hanging out at someone's home.

I also have a bit more income and a lot more leisure time, so more chances to play games.

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Onemanarmyy

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I'm more interested in grand strategy games or tactics games nowadays. I used to play more racing games as a kid, that has mostly dried up completely.

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SuperJoe

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I'm playing a wider variety of games nowadays but have increasingly less tolerance for respawning or games with no forward progress. Genres I played almost exclusively in the 90s-00s (fighting games, racing games, shooters) have lost my interest in favor of genres I never used to play back then (RPGs, simulators, strategy). Genres I've never gotten tired of since the NES days are 2D action-platformers and adventure games.

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FacelessVixen

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I buy more games than I play due to having more money than time.

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TurtleFish

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All you young'ins. I turned 46 a couple of months ago. :)

Biggest change I've found as I've gotten older -- your reflexes eventually go, and no amount of craftiness or wisdom will save you. Classic arcade games or shooters or anything where APM and reflexes matter - you can still have a ton of fun, but you're never going to be truly competitive again.

I also have way less time for video games in general - career and family tend to suck up most of my time these days. So, this means I now play mostly in the mobile space (because those tend to be the 15 minute bites I have time for) and I tend to play games that have very minimal state to remember -- because I never know for sure when I can get back to a game. It's very annoying when you only have 30 minutes to do something, but you have to spend 20 minutes of that trying to remember what you were doing and where you were going during the last play session 2 weeks ago.

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Spliffmaster

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Having so much less time with three kids and a fulltime job I guess the only difference is that I'm just really picky with what games I play. If I'm not sure or like at least 80% sure, I mean you never really know, thst I'll like the game I won't bother.

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penguindust

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#31  Edited By penguindust

Well, I tend to play seriously only on weekends. That doesn't mean I won't dabble with something familiar for a half-hour or so during the course of the week, but I won't commit to a new game or any game that requires my full attention. Generally, after a full day at the office and then family responsibilities, I am mind-spent, so my preferred entertainment is passive even when interactive. The Sims 4, loot shooters like Destiny 2 and action RPG's like Diablo 3 are great when you want to turn your brain off and wind down.

I would say that the biggest change I've noticed is my patience for the unfamiliar and tedium have greatly diminished. When I was younger I would be willing to play through 8 to 20 hours to get to the "good part" of a game. No more as I just don't have the time to waste. Furthermore, I am no longer interested in learning new control schemes and keyboard layouts. If I can't get the hang of the game play in the first 20 minutes chances are I'll get frustrated and that means I probably won't return once I quit out of the experience. I encounter enough frustration during my work week, I don't need to invite more at playtime.

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SloppyDetective

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As a kid I played a lot but as I grew into a teen/young adult I gamed less as I was more interested in partying and playing music. Now I game fairly regularly.

I think I enjoy gaming more now. I think about games in different ways than "is this fun?" I appreciate them more as an art form and they are more rewarding experiences.

I also vary my play style in games more. Instead of just sticking with one game plan I mess around with more of the options the games give me and screw around with the ai more. It has made game play more rewarding and keeps it from getting stale before the end of the game. Overall I think I'm more of a Gamer now than I have ever been.

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BladeOfCreation

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I used to play games on Normal/Default difficulty and I couldn't beat them, I'd stop playing. I might go back (sometimes years later), and reduce the difficulty so I could finish the game. Most recently, I did this with Doom 2016. Turns out I had a blast playing it that way!

These days, I'm much more willing to START a game on an Easy or Story difficulty if that's what I'm interested in playing the game for.

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Barl0we

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My habits have changed a lot over the years.

As a kid, I played a lot of games on my C64 / Amiga 600.

I was unemployed a lot in my 20s, so I played a LOT of video games back then.

These days, I live with my fiancee, our kid and our dog. Kiddo is ~1 year old, and I have a full time job. So I usually get around an hour a night that's my time; sometimes I play video games, sometimes I just sit on the couch and watch YouTube videos. I take the rare chances for longer gameplay sessions I can get, when I can get them :D

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Nodima

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#36  Edited By Nodima

I play a lot more games to completion, but far fewer games overall. I used to live a quick 5-10 minute bike ride from a Blockbuster and would rent one, sometimes two games every weekend. Most of the time that would be my entire exposure to those games, especially if I couldn't grasp what they were going for right away. I know video game rental is still a thing via Redbox/Gamefly but it just feels weird to do it that way, and as I've gotten older I've gotten a likely misplaced sense of pride out of putting money towards a thing I appreciate.

(I also loathe the idea of buying/renting a disc, taking it home and then waiting for it to install so I've entirely switched to digital purchases, and have been there for nearly... seven... years now...the ability to play a highly anticipated game anywhere from four days to one hour early is a minor bonus, I suppose.)

Whether it's waiting until Death Stranding is $40 over the holiday or putting up $70 for Last of Us 2 Deluxe Edition despite having no interest in the supplemental materials, I like knowing that I paid a fair price for a thing and am going to mine it for all I think it's worth after that. Instead of 30-50 games a year as a kid, I play eight or nine as an adult, but I really get to know them compared to (most) games back then. Not speedrunner know, but just really understanding what the goal was with a game and whether or not it was achieved.

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MightyDuck

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Good topic!

I was born in '87 and grew up with an NES that my parents had prior to me. I remember getting a Genesis for Christmas of 92 which was amazing. I really enjoyed those early consoles, and loved playing games because of the fun mechanics. We also had a PC that played Doom, Wolfenstein, and Duke Nukem which I played a ton of too with my dad in particular. I wouldn't say I necessarily had a "limit" on how much I could play, but in the summer I wasn't allowed to stay inside all day and play games. Thankfully I'd be outside playing baseball and street hockey quite a bit too. It's funny that both RBI 94 and NHL 95 are what got me into playing those sports to this day.

Once the PS1 hit, I started to look for more story driven games like Resident Evil and Final Fantasy 7, I consider those my two favorite games of all time. The same can be said with PS2 and PS3. The one different there was online gaming. My buddies and I became HUGE fans of Socom 1 and 2. We would blow off dates in high school for clan wars (yikes!). We still laugh about that to this day.

Now with PS4 and Switch, I usually play about an hour a night if time allows due to work. My same friends and I still play NHL 20 or whatever game is current along with Fortnite. On the weekends I tend to try and play the more single player games when I have time, but lately, I've been getting away from story games more in favor of games with just fun mechanics.