Too old for online gaming?

by 96dpi from Flickr

Wired has a nice article on online gaming called "21st-Century Shooters Are No Country For Old Men" [wm].  I've never really gotten into playing first person shooters (fps) online mostly because I feel too damn old.  When I have tried to play Call of Dutyor Modern Warfareonline through XBOX Live, I always end up being quickly slaughtered and gay-bashed.  It's like I remember high school being, except I'm supposed to be there for fun.

The article backs up the author Gus Mastrapa's feeling that online first person shooters are increasingly for the young, and not for the old.

David Walsh is the oldest player in Major League Gaming. The kids call him “Grandpa Walsh.” He is 25.

“The younger guys have much more refined motor skills, [having grown up] with more-advanced systems,” Walsh says. In other words, they cut their teeth on Halo 2 while we were playing Pac-Man.

“I don’t feel like getting older means getting worse,” he says. “I just think that the younger guys are getting so much better.”

It’s tough to argue that free time, or the lack of it, isn’t a factor. Jason Thompson, a 30-year-old South Carolina middle-school teacher with a wife and a 6-year-old, struggles to find a spare moment to play Modern Warfare.

“It is frustrating to come back to the game and feel like I’ve been left behind,” he says.

 I think the question is when is this going to become something that game companies care about?  Modern Warfare 2sold in record numbers, a clear indication that few people are so far avoiding buying games because of the online experience.  However I did not buy it, and I've started to consider online game play a negative feature as opposed to a positive.  Instead of Modern Warfare 2 I bought Mass Effect 2, which is entirely off-line and focuses instead on a deep plot as opposed to twitch finger actions.  Granted ME2isn't exactly a fps, but it's been the action game I've been playing recently.

And now as I'm considering buying Star Trek Online [wp] I have to consider do I actually want to put my gaming experience in the hands of other people?  When I was heavy into World of Warcraft I was lucky enough to find a group of people in the game who I enjoyed playing with, but most of the time I struck out on my own.

Playing online can be great fun.  I loved playing FIFAagainst David in Panama.  Our sessions were a great chance for us to catch up, talk about comics and life all while taunting each other as Arsenal faced off against Real Madrid.  In his epic "The Bendis Tapes" interviews on Wordbaloon [wb] comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis often talks about a number of Marvel writers playing Call of Dutytogether online, and so with friends it can be a real positive experience.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I need more friends.