Ten Signs You're an Aging Gamer

Yesterday was my birthday. That means another year in my life has come and gone, and I'm another year closer to the inevitable grave.

Although my life has taken many twists and turns within the span of a single year, one thing remains constant--I still play A LOT of video games.

Since I'm a few years away from reaching the big three-o, there are several characteristics about myself as an aging gamer that I'm beginning to notice. These habits, it seems, are specific to older gamers and probably don't make a whole lot of sense to the younger, more HALO-y crowd. If you're old enough to remember Nintendo Cereal, take a look for yourself. Do any of these apply to you? The following are 10 signs you're an aging gamer.

1. You Have Sprite Artwork Posted Somewhere

A decal of Ness from Earthbound
A decal of Ness from Earthbound

A decal of Ness from Earthbound

Whether it's a decal on your laptop or a computer wallpaper, there's something about pixelated artwork that brings back fond memories of your gaming youth. Your fondest memories of

Super Mario

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are the ones in which he's a blocky plumber with red overalls, not the modern cartoon-like one with blue overalls.

2. You Press the "A" or "X" Button Rapidly During Loading Screens

Ten Signs You're an Aging Gamer

You probably don't realize this, but you tap the "A" or "X" button on your controller  (XBOX360 and PS3, respectively) whenever you're impatiently waiting during a loading screen. Why is this? This habit must have been developed during the days of the NES, when we would rapidly tap the "A" button on the NES controller to bypass text as quickly as possible.

3. You Interchange the Term "1-Up," "Extra Life" and "Extra Man"

Ten Signs You're an Aging Gamer

The term "lives" aren't as important in modern gaming as it used to be, since players get an infinite number of respawns in the most popular single-player campaigns. However, in older games, players had a finite number of retries called "lives," and once you're out of them, it's game over. You'd have to have to start all over. As an aging gamer, you've probably interchanged the words "1-up", "extra life" and "extra man" on numerous occasions.

4. You Know What the "Nintendo Smell" is

Take a whiff of this!
Take a whiff of this!

Whenever I bought a new NES or SNES game as a kid, the first thing I'd do after I opened the box was take a big whiff of everything inside. There's nothing quite like that "new Nintendo-game smell," and it hasn't been the same since the company began using optical media. I've always thought I was crazy, but apparently, former EGM writer Mark McDonald feels the same way I do about the "new Nintendo-game smell."

5. You Probably Don't Play Games Online With Strangers


Not only because everyone online is an asshole, but also because your competitive skills ain't what they used to be. Your job, bills and nagging in-laws have all taken a toll on your precious ability to play competitive games such as Street Fighter as well as you used to.

6. You Listen to Chiptune Music and Have Some on Your Mp3 Player or Computer

Ten Signs You're an Aging Gamer

Whether it's "Vampire Killer" from Castlevania or just about anything from Mega Man 3, you still think chiptune music (AKA 8-bit music) rocks. You probably have some MP3 of chiptune music stashed somewhere on your computer or iPod, too.

7. You Don't Play Portable Games in Public Anymore

The amount of portable gaming you do in public is inversely proportional to your age. Year after year, you find it more uncomfortable to whip out your portable gaming device when you're waiting around for something. When you were younger, you'd flash that GameBoy at every given opportunity. These days, all you can play with in public is your iPhone. That way, perhaps you can fool someone into thinking you're texting instead of gaming.

8. You Kinda Miss Nintendo Cereal

Ten Signs You're an Aging Gamer

Not only do you miss Nintendo cereal, but you remember what it tasted like, too. Packed into two separate pouches, Nintendo cereal was divided into two flavors: the fruity "Mario flavor" and the berry "Zelda flavor." The cereal was composed of fluffy corn puffs that vaguely looked like enemies and items in the Mario and Zelda universes and would come with free Nintendo stickers. Admit it. You've even considered buying an unopened box of this stuff whenever it goes on sale on eBay, from where it can cost more than $100.

9. You Aren't Aware That Modern Arcade Games Now Cost a Lot More Than a Quarter

Remember when it used to cost a quarter to play an arcade game? One of those old Konami beat-'em-ups would cost you 25 cents to play, and you'd get at least 20 minutes of quality playtime out of that. These days, certain racing or hunting games can cost up to $3 per play. An evening at Dave and Buster's arcade can easily cost up to $40 if you're not careful.

10. You Have an Old System That's Hooked Up to Your TV

There's nothing like playing old games such as Excitebike on the original NES, even though you could now play it on the Wii. You've probably re-purchased some NES games on the Virtual Console, even though you have the original cartridge. Every characteristic, flaws included, of these retro consoles make the experience something special to you. Even that blinking blue screen of the NES you used to hate so much is now something you laugh at and love.

Check out other video game posts by Peter Mai here: 


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