Do gaming tastes grow up

Do Gaming Tastes Grow Up? Yvonne’s Story

An interesting question in my case, as I was already grown up when video games entered my life. Can’t very well call a woman of 42 a spring chicken, right? Let me take you to my answer to the question.

No Strong Gaming Gene in Our Family

One could say that as far as gaming was concerned, I grew up in an exciting era. Not only did we see a lot of technical innovations, the Internet was introduced, we got to use email for the first time, saw the release of mobile phones and tablets. But we also saw the first dedicated gaming computers and handheld devices arrive. The first gaming console was the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, with the games Tennis and Hockey. Quite a revolution, but one that completely passed by me. Even when Philips ( a company that was founded in my hometown in the Netherlands) bought Magnavox in 1976 and produced its own gaming computer, I didn’t notice, even though I was 12 years old at the time. I did see the first Game & Watch devices from Nintendo in the toy store when I was 16, but it didn’t interest me one bit. You see, the gaming gene wasn’t strong in our family.

Gaming testes grow up Yvonne

Neither my parents nor my older brother ever played video games. We did have board games or card games, and I loved those. Nothing could please me more than to spend Sundays playing Monopoly together. Unfortunately for me, my family wasn’t as enthusiastic. We aren’t a competitive lot (for which I’m grateful, there’s not a competitive bone in my body), so no fierce battles were waged to bankrupt someone. Sure, sometimes my parents played to humour me, but every chance he got, my brother would flee to his room. So I guess you can say gaming came late in life for me.

Link and the Faces of Evil

The first GameBoy was introduced in 1989, and still, I looked on at a distance. A small change came with the release of Philips CDi in 1991. You see, while my father wasn’t interested in gaming, he was keen to follow the latest technology from his former employer. And the CDi was a wonderful new machine: it could play music, display your photos, be used as a Karaoke machine and it even had a CD you could buy that housed an entire encyclopedia. That was my main motive to want the device, I had sorely lacked having an encyclopedia in our home to help me in my studies.

I went to live on my own and got to take the CDi with me. My then friend, now husband, was intrigued by the games that could be played on it. The usual stuff like pinball or some form of Pong, but it also had Hotel Mario. He spent hours jumping on enemies, chasing mushrooms and finding out which lift went where in this early platformer. Not my cup of tea, such games still make me feel out of sorts and rushed, but I was interested when he showed me Link and the Faces of Evil. I had no idea back then that these games would later be ridiculed by the gaming community.

A little background history: They are generally known as the failure that resulted in the compromise between Nintendo and Philips after the two companies failed to release a CD-based add-on for the SNES. But at the time, we spent night after night, till the wee hours of the morning, trying to solve all the levels. You know, the game music is still etched in my memory! We took turns in slaying enemies, made charts of where to go for extra life drinks, and where to bring items to progress the story. We enjoyed that title, and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, a lot. This ultimately led to buying a GameCube and having fun with Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. Funny thing is that at the time Link in Windwaker looked so strange to us, we had gotten used to the Link-version on the CDi!

Animal Crossing Entered my Life

Life moved on, and our daughter was born. Busy times followed, being a mom and combining a working career with managing a family. We did play the GameCube from time to time, but it wasn’t until my daughter got her first Nintendo DS that my interest was awakened. I marvelled at the way she could interact with the Nintendogs, how they listened when she called her name and enjoyed a good rub while in the bath. For the first time, I saw that games could be something more than running around and jumping on enemies trying to gain a new level or excruciating boss levels that I always preferred leaving to my husband to deal with.

My girl loved her virtual critters to bits, but during the holidays the time came that she was ready for a new game. We both didn’t have a clue about what to buy, which game would be nice for a little lady. Off we went, to the games store together, perusing the displays that appealed to a 7-year-old. Purely based on the box art, we picked Animal Crossing Wild World.

Can you picture it, back home, together on the couch, heads close together as we stepped into the virtual world? Our native language is Dutch, and the game was in English, so I had to help her along. Doing our first chores for Tom Nook, meeting the villagers. Pretty soon though she got a bit bored as in the first days there’s not much more to do than collect shells and shake some trees. I decided to finish the chores for her, you know as most mothers do, to help her along. I looked up the game online, found an online community of adult gamers who were fanatical about Animal Crossing, and wasn’t long before I decided to buy my own DS. After all, the Animal Crossing town needed daily maintenance and I couldn’t well leave that in the hands of a little girl, now could I? And so, at the age of 42, I became an avid gamer.

Pokémon Platinum Next

Since then it’s been nothing but a source of joy for me. At first, I thought I would never be able to finish a game on my own. When I played with my husband I often let him do the harder parts like flying with the Deku Leaf, precise jumps to cross huge gaps or finishing off the bosses. But I found that there are games out there that are better suited for me.

My first adventure after Animal Crossing was Pokémon. Gaming friends had told me time and again that I should try a Pokémon game, and every time I said that wouldn’t be my cup of tea. After all, I knew the kids’ series from television, and no way I would be into “catching them all”, right? But then Pokémon Platinum was released, and I read in one of the gaming magazines that this would be the super deluxe version, including everything from diamond and pearl plus some extras. As I was looking for a new challenge in games, I thought “oh well, let’s give it a try. If I don’t like it, I can at least make my nephews happy with it if I don’t like it”.

Lo and behold my surprise! After some initial getting used to the very small characters, it turned out to be a lot of fun. Lucky for me the bigger screens of the DSi helped in finding the even smaller pokéballs that you can find in the high grass, and if necessary I can put on my reading glasses too. So I turned into a cool gaming mom because now I could talk Pokémon with my daughter’s classmates!

Gaming on the Go Works for Me

I found RPG or adventure games where battles were turn-based, to be a good choice for me. No need for frantic button mashing to give me heart palpitations. Simulation games that gave me a relaxing virtual life, or strategy games where I really had to think through my moves. I also found that handheld games, played on a DS or the PlayStation Vita were very much my cup of tea. Console games aren’t really for me, I want to sit with my family at night, not in a separate room to play on my WiiU.

People often ask me where do I find the time. But there’s always an opportunity for gaming on the go, as I call it. Whether it’s during my daily commute by train, waiting at the dentists’ office, over a cup of coffee at night, when the others are watching television. Never a moment wasted!

Grown-Up When Games Found Me

So, to answer the question Do Gaming Tastes Grown Up? In my case, I would say no. I’m still partial to the same games I started out with. Simulation games still tick the boxes for me, as do turn-based RPGs. I do feel that I’ve diversified more. In the beginning, I had a hard time finding a clone of Animal Crossing. But once I found Pokémon I found that I wasn’t just tied to AC, I could play other things too. Guess my confidence grew over the years. But aside from my preferences my dislikes are very much in place too.

I think it’s because I came to gaming life at a later age, I was pretty much grown up at 42 when video games entered my life. Are you a gamer that started gaming late in life? And do you reach the same conclusion? Don’t forget to comment below!


  1. I’ve found as I grew up my tastes changed somewhat. I started out in my early teens playing Diablo, Abe’s Oddysee and Grim Fandango, and then moving on to more social games like World of Warcraft in my early 20’s. Now I’m in my late 30’s and I’m playing pretty much solo games or limited multi-player. I’ve always loved the adventure games of Legend of Zelda and Point and Click puzzlers no matter how old I got

    1. Thanks for reading and replying, Kathrine! So your preferences did evolve, I’m guessing pretty much like you’ve changed yourself since you were in your early 20s. But some loves stay with you right? I do understand the tendency towards solo gaming or limited multiplayer. Aside from enjoying online in Animal Crossing I have never gotten the hang of playing with many people online.

      1. I’m sure you are spot on regarding tastes changing along due to personal growth with age! Have you noticed a similar trend with your daughter or other family members as they’ve grown? I think the changes of the industry also have part of an impact. When I started gaming there was no such thing as massive multi-player online (MMO) games, compared to nowadays where there are too many to count! I’m interested to see where the virtual reality headsets like the Occulus will go.

        1. Well, we all started out on Animal Crossing or Pokémon, so they started at the same time as I did. Somehow they still love AC but has ventured beyond too, to for example BOTW. Lately she’s been into anime and visual novels, but it’s not like she’s gone astray from Nintendo devices. Neither have the others. And two out of four stopped playing altogether.
          I tried such a headset once, that really is something special!

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