Video Games Meet Middle Age Emotions

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Dena Watson-Lamprey shows off her gaming rig.

The first crop of video gamers are facing middle age with no plans to put down the controller. So the games have to grow up too. Expect less blood splatter, more reflection. (This is part 1 of 2 about new kinds of video gamers. Listen to part 2 here.)

Enter the Elder Gamers

At 61 years old, Dena Watson-Lamprey is a fierce Street Fighter competitor. Probably because she's been playing the one-on-one combat game for decades. And also because she hates to lose. "I’m not happy with low scores. So I work at it a little bit," she says with a charming laugh in this week's episode. Though she plays Street Fighter, she dreams of a new kind of game that speaks to her stage in life. A game that doesn't exist yet, but soon will. 

'Kid in a basement;' 'Dude in a man cave;' '#Gamergate flame wars;' All of the stereotypes of video gaming paint it as the dominion of young, single men, but when you look at the data, older women are the fastest growing demographic. Add to that the original cohort of young gamers coming up on middle age and there's a swell of demand for a new kind of video game experience.

How Games Will Change

The response from game designers is fascinating. From dealing with a family member’s cancer to managing depression, new games are exploring real-world phenomena like emotional loss, existential doubt, and a simple quest for beauty. They cultivate deeper connections between players, and even among players and their families. 

“Our fundamental feeling is that as the audience of game players grows up, there’s a huge opportunity to make things that grow with us,” says Robin Hunicke the cofounder and CEO of Funomena, a game studio in San Francisco.

Mentioned in the show

Here's what the guys of Dude Mountain look like. Joey is the one in the hat. 

 

What Luna looks like, the next game from Robin Hunicke:

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