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The Adult Video Gamer

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Whatever happened to the once mighty video game? Forty years ago, Pong took the world by storm; gathering entire families around a single screen, chomping at the bit to play. In magazine ads, everyone from children to parents and even grandparents were featured, having a gay old time with their Atari gaming system.

Fast forward to today and video games have lost their social-lustre, having been relegated to the domain of children and the awkward teenage male. Some of the blame could be placed on the uprising of child-like games during the “golden age” of the late 1980s and early 1990s. That’s when Nintendo and Sega blitzed the world with games featuring plumbers and hedgehogs, wizards and warlocks and space zappers and aliens – none of which, admittedly, appeal to adults.

In the last ten years, things have progressed even further in that direction, with the most video game publicity falling on games that glorify violence. For example, World War II shooting games where after just a few hours of play, one has used knife-and-gun to kill hundreds upon hundreds of other soldiers. Again, not the type of experience that attracts a diverse demographic.

So are video games really that bad? Have they totally lost their social appeal? Should being an adult gamer have such a stigma attached?

The quick and simple answer to these questions, is “no.”

DFC Intelligence projects that the video game industry will rake in $87 billion by 2017. The industry is massive and as a result, there’s never been better time to start gaming. Due to its size, there are games for every manner of interest, age, gender, etc. and actually, it’s been that way for many years. The industry is so pervasive that if you own a smart phone, you can become a gamer literally right now. But chance are, you might already be a gamer, since statistics show that most people with smart phones have downloaded at least one game. Have you ever played Angry Birds? 

Gaming is no longer just about killing wizards, stomping mushrooms and blasting guns. In fact, with the abundance and diversity of games on the market, the benefits of gaming have started to present themselves through scientific research. Increased creative thinking, problem solving, hand-to-brain coordination along with stress relief, relaxation and plain enjoyment can be attributed as benefits of video gaming. In 2007, the American Psychological Association found that gamers were approximately 27 per cent faster and made 37 per cent fewer errors performing laparoscopic surgery than non-gamers.

Perhaps one of the best reasons to take up video gaming is that it’s now just so accessible. As mentioned above, a smart phone will get you access to thousands of games – from Scrabble to Zen Buddhist games, to games that require taking photos with your phone’s camera. There’s even a game for the Walking Dead TV show. 

Even better, is that because the video game industry has been around for nearly fifty years, there’s a fantastically large used-game market. There’s no need to spend $300 on new systems and $60 on new game discs; you can find excellent deals online through sites just like  A quick search brought up these really great buys:

  • $25 retro Atari system with two controllers and seven games, on
  • $50 Nintendo Wii with two controllers, on
  • $20 PlayStation 1 with two controllers, on
  • Plus on any of the various sites, there are games for pretty much any system as low as $5.00 

So if you consider the deals on used video games, along with the accessibility and affordability of games available for smart phones, then factor in the array of developmental benefits associated with gaming, then what’s not to love? When viewed this way, there’s no longer a good reason for the negative stigma. And really, aren’t video games just that – games? And games have been around since time immemorial. If it’s okay for my grandma to play Bridge, and for my father to play lawn darts, then I think it’s okay for today’s generation to play Angry Birds. Wouldn’t you agree?


Having lived on both coasts and smack-dab in the middle of the prairies, Mark believes himself to be quite the well-rounded Canadian. That being said, he sure does struggle with appropriate regional diction. Remind him again: Is it pronounced scallop or skahllop?

7 Responses to “The Adult Video Gamer”

Ron Thompson ACCHT

Thank you for your great article.
Yes the world has gone to the violent side of war and death and well whatever destruction they can think of.
Sure letting the kids watch and play angry birds seems Ok, as mom and dad probable grew up on normal games in their younger years. However now coms the new reality of it .
In this day and age of using the TV or games as baby sitters to keep the kids busy ,many parents have lost control of how much kids use and play the games and for the most part what types of games they play.
So what is the outcome of this , you ask?
You can look at many studies now that show , many of the shootings and school violence acts in many countries are attributed to kids that play very violent video games. I’m not going to go into all the thoughts behind this but what I wanted to explain is what to watch out for with your own kids .
It is proven that these games are Hypnotic in nature , the more they play them the more hypnotised they become. Kids start to loss their ability to be calm in social situations. They become angry and depressed, as well as argumentive and their grades start to fall off in their classes. I have seen cases where young adults cannot even function in class and drop out of school .
Now one may ask how bad can it be . Well I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist and in the last 2 months I have seen 6 kids with most of these issues and most of it is related to gaming. As well there is a whole other side to their loss of confidence as they are defeated over and over again. I’m only one of many therapists in North America seeing the problem.
Now you can ask yourselves, angry birds should be Ok , for young kids right.
Ron Thompson ACCHT
The Nanaimo Hypnotherapy Center


    B Nelson


    Your argument could be used for anything. Too much sugar, too much alcohol, too much anything can cause bad behavior in children and adults.

    Demonizing gaming is a fad that was decimated in the 90’s. I suggest you try and keep up.


    @Ron Thompson: Thanks for the in-depth, spirited comment. If there’s one thing to be said is that video games definitely strike up a healthy debate.

lazy alice

For purchasing used games and systems, as well as accessories and the like, a fantastic store is Island Collateral & Sales downtown. It’s that pawn shop with the big yellow awnings at Johnson and Broad street. The best thing is that they clean all the used stuff so it’s like new. I think that they can even fix damaged game discs too!

Thanks for the interesting read



I totally agree! I am an adult gamer myself. I tell people that and I often get a weird look. Who cares? I think it’s better than going out and getting drunk every weekend.



@lazy alice: Used game stores are great. There’s also a fantastic place in Winnipeg called PNP Games. A while back, they had a massive selection of brand-spankin’-new Sega Dreamcast systems.



@Sophie: Yes, you should hear my father-in-law talk about adults who play video games. lol. Harsh words. Of note, he is unaware of my video game playing.


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