Different Games for Different Players

June 17, 2008 | 08:10

Tags: #design #develop #feature #female #girl #guest #industry #women

Grey Gamers

Moving on from the gender divide, what about other types of players? The next possible division that comes to mind is young and old.

But before we consider that perhaps we need to define those terms, as it’s a little different from the rather fundamental difference between genders.

I’ve been an advocate for encouraging older players into gaming and I once rashly decided I was going to start a website with that particular goal. My planned domain was www.greygamers.com. I was pleasantly surprised to find though that both it and www.graygamers.com had been registered - surely a sign that there was some interest coming from within those crowds, right?

Unfortunately this was nearly two years ago and still nothing has been published on either address. I decided to do a little more research and search for other sites that claimed to cater for the older gamer. I did find one, now long forgotten, that almost had me crying with laughter. It’s definition of an older gamer? 25 years old, which is actually the average age of a reader here on bit-tech.

Different Games for Different Players Grey Gamers
When did you last see a game for mature audiences which wasn't just gratuitously gory?

It might have seemed that I have digressed but I think the sad story above illustrates the fact that too many people in the gaming community have a very narrow view of the other types of gamers around them. They tend to focus on what they think is representative of players, and they usually view themselves as being the average.

Ultimately, that’s bad for gaming because it means we’re slow to react or broaden our horizons. So, does the age gap mean that the games we enjoy are different?

I know a lot of older players play FPS games, but I wonder how many play Counter-Strike. Is that style of gaming less interesting to older players? If so, why? What sort of FPS games do they prefer? I know that being a going-grey gamer, I want something with a little more depth, both story wise and design detail – but am I representative of the majority, or am I just falling into my own trap?

Maybe some of the real grey gamers prefer modern shooters because they can relate to the action, or maybe they want to forget that period of their lives. What I do know is that twitch-based games interest me less than games where thought and decision play a greater part in the action.

Different Games for Different Players Grey Gamers
Is Counter-Strike more appealing to younger or older gamers?

Has my age played a part in making me that way, I wonder – or have I always been that type of player?

Which brings us nicely onto the next basic division in players – playing style. When I first started thinking about this article, Portal wasn’t even a twinkle in Valve’s eyes, but to discuss this point without starting with Portal would be a grievous error.

Portal is the epitome of aiming an FPS for a particular playing style. Clearly puzzle lovers revel in its simplistic concept but masterful use. I didn’t particularly enjoy the game and hope that Portal 2 will include other types of puzzles, and perhaps use the real world physics to greater effect. I want it to be different.

The point though is that Portal should have started other designers thinking; if it can be done with puzzles, why not other forms of FPS gaming?
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