The Effect of Age on Gaming Tastes
Nostalgia is a powerful force no matter when you were born. Craving the comfort of the times of our youth is only natural, and this is as true in video games as it is for any other medium. This force alone isn’t enough to explain why different age groups tend to gravitate towards different genres, so why do we see patterns in tastes and age occur in the real world?
Technology Dictates Opportunity
Because gaming requires us to interface with technology, this technology teaches us depending on the era when we aged. That is tied into a technological age, where the most popular systems and loops we have to jump through serve as a guiding force. If a person was in high school during the popularization of smartphones, for example, odds are their young technological age will guide them towards easier-to-run games.
On the other hand, people who grew up in the era of MS-DOS in PC gaming developed their interests at a time when computer games were much more complicated to engage with.
Launching from the command line, messing with autoexec.bat, and hoping for enough extended and conventional memory were all par for the course. With so many hoops to jump through just to get a game working, overly complicated CRPGs were hardly as intimidating as they’d appear for newcomers today.
Extending this idea is not just the hardware realities of each time but the breakout hits that define each generation. These drew in player attention and were too big to ignore, with games like Super Mario Bros for the NES, Doom for the PC, and Final Fantasy 7 for the PS1. Each of these played a part in guiding players down their genre roads, and while each type of game has changed significantly since this point, the effect of popular titles still holds.
A Return to the Past
Throwing complications into the modern equation is the return of classic gaming genres through retro-inspired releases. Many of the games we cover at js12kGames, for example, are reminiscent of early generations, thanks to limitations in file size. In the larger gaming environment, retro throwbacks like the boomer shooter and JRPG revivals have returned with much celebration. Though these might primarily appeal to players who were around for the originals, they’re also built on such a famous legacy that they draw in plenty of newcomers.
Of course, the ultimate deciding factor of the games we enjoy is personal taste. No matter where and when you were born and raised, some titles will always appeal to you more than others. With that said, there's no denying that different ages will embrace different titles and genres at vastly different rates. From Dwarf Fortress making waves in older communities to Fortnite bringing in young fans, history is full of examples, but these disparities might not last forever. In a part of the entertainment that is only growing more inclusive, there's something for everyone, and for the sake of the future of gaming, that’s something we can get behind.
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