The Past, Present and Future of Gaming—An Interview with 4 Gamers.
by SM CADMAN
Gaming has been around since the 1970’s so I sat down with four gamers individually to ask them what their thoughts were about it. What they used to play, what they’re currently playing now and where they see the future of gaming going. Desiree is in her late 20’s, Mr. Grey* is in his 30’s, Dragon* is in his mid 40’s and Barb is in her late 60’s. All have been engaged in gaming culture to some degree or another for a good portion of their lives. And they all had interesting stories about gaming to share.
Desiree’s first experience with gaming came in the form of a second hand Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) passed on from her older brothers. She fondly remembers playing Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. I asked her what she was currently playing and she had a long list of favorites. “I really like Overwatch because they’ve paid attention to their customer base and listened to what players wanted. They created characters and storylines that the players wanted.”
When asked about how she feels about being a woman gaming she did mention it was tough so she would often use male characters and generic pseudonyms to play to thwart any potential abuse. She also mentioned the differences between male and female players, that women often choose strategy based games over shoot ’em up games. She loves fun games that are cute too. Slime Rancher is a favorite of hers. But she also enjoys playing grittier games such as Life is Strange, where she explained players choose the outcomes for the game based upon the Butterfly and Dragonfly effect.
She also plays Star Wars Old Republic, Gears of War, Borderlands and loves Fallout 4. Over the years she’s adapted to changes in the gaming industry and often carries around her Nintendo Gameboy loaded with titles too. “I need my fix. So when I’m at work on break I can play too. I also have quite a few games on my mobile—and of course Pokémon Go.” I asked her about where she saw gaming going and she thinks that games will become more personalized. She’s hopeful that more games which appeal to girls and women will appear on the market too. She does notice that there’s more titles available for girls and women though than ever before which she feels is good.
Mr. Grey* has been playing video games since the late 80’s, early 90’s and has played on a wide range of gaming consoles, everything from the Atari 2600, to the Sega Master System and even the Sega Master System II. When he was a kid he lived on a military base so to buy the Sega Master System II, he went around the golf course located there and collected stray golf balls to pay for it. “I did have a Nintendo 64 too but I swapped it for a few days with a friend for a Playstation 2 and never got it back.”
He was also a huge arcade game fanatic too and loved playing Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Some of his older favorites include, Dr. Mario, a Tetris-like game with pills where you had to attack bacteria. Galaga, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart and Street Fighter II he also liked playing. Nowadays as a computer technician, he enjoys playing games mostly on his PC. He plays Tanks, EVE Online and Fallout 4. Sometimes he even broadcasts with Twitch streaming when he plays, a bonus using today’s technology. He sees the future of gaming going into more high tech, virtual reality like.
Dragon* also very computer savvy, a coder and hardware technician, mostly games on PC’s and always has. In the early days of gaming online, he used to run a bulletin board, BBS for VGA Planets. Players would download a game then upload a strategic outcome in which a computer program would determine the winner. Earlier games he played include Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem. He also remembers LAN parties in the late 90’s, early 2000’s when groups of gamers would get together, connect their PC’s and game together. The biggest differences he notes between games of the past and present are memory and bandwidth. “It would’ve been impossible in those days to play MMO’s (Massively multiplayer online games) online. Most of us were still stuck on 56k dial-up,” he says with a laugh.
He also played arcade games but not as frequently, his favorite was Asteroids. His current favorites include, EVE Online, World of Tanks, World of Ships and the Diablo series 1, 2, and 3. What he likes about gaming nowadays is the social aspect too. He’s met and made many friends from around the world that share his interest in gaming and in technology too. They often congregate on Teamspeak servers to communicate various tactics and strategies for gaming. It comes in handy for EVE Online and the corporation he’s in and the others he has alliances with. In the future he also thinks gaming will be more personalized too, noting that technology changes so frequently it will be difficult to keep up with all the advances that are yet to come.
In her late 60’s, Barb remembers the golden era of early computer gaming. She recalls the Commodore 64 and also playing Pong. She used to make the paddle large enough that the ball couldn’t pass through. “They’re all so complicated now [referring to video games]. But I do love my Facebook games. I play the word games and I love Bingo on it too. You can win real money, you know? I get tons of invites from my friends often so I play with them also.”
She also notes how culture has changed and adapted to gaming, media and computers. “So much has changed. Now I see every kid glued to their mobile phones gaming or texting. We never had that as kids. We did play a lot of board and card games though. Maybe that’s why I enjoy playing computer games so much now.” When asked about the future and where she thinks games will be going she says, “Oh honey, I’m too old to know. But I believe the future is bright. I will be long gone before anything like the Star Trek Holodeck appears. But man, I would’ve loved to have seen it.”
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*Pseudonyms and gaming handles were given to protect the identities of these gamers.