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I'm A 30-Year-Old Video Game Player

December 10, 2008 - John Whittaker

Hi. I'm the Whitless Wonder, and I play video games.
Whoops … wrong meeting.
When I was growing up, I always used to wonder if it would be socially acceptable to play video games when I grew into an adult.
Well, according to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, not only is it socially acceptable for adults to play video games, it's socially prevalent. According to a recent survey, half of adults play video games. In fact, if I ran into 12-year-old me today, I'd tell me to hang on to my Atari 2600, Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and all the games that went along with them.
Not that I'd be selling them -- I'd be playing with them, probably to the detriment of my job and social life.
Today's adults were kids when video games exploded. They were in arcades, forcing quarters into coin-op machines before home video game systems became cool. Adults who are my age are the kids whose parents bought them Nintendos and played Super Mario Bros., Contra and Tecmo Bowl (which I'd love to get a copy of now so I can play season after season after season).
I can remember playing Pong and River Raid on an Atari 2600 in my parents' living room. Teddy and I used to play seasons of Tecmo NBA and Tecmo Bowl over weekends off from school. My brother and I have ongoing Madden/NHL/March Madness feuds that go back nearly a decade.
When I don't have my brother to play games with, the News Gal and I will occasionally pop in Pac-Man or Sonic the Hedgehog (one of her favorites).
When I get a few minutes to myself, I'm addicted to sports games -- NCAA 2K8 and a legacy with Western Illinois (Syracuse was just too easy to win with) for my Playstation 2 right now. MLB 2007: The Show is in regular rotation. I played three seasons on Madden 2008 before I needed a break -- not to worry, News Gal, it's a temporary break. I had to stop when Bill Belichick retired after another Super Bowl win and my replacement coach (Romeo Crennel) had a terrible playbook that just ruined my weekend. We'll be back, maybe using the Cardinals or Lions.
It's a nice way to blow off steam and occupy my mind -- and it's just plain fun, too. Someday, I look forward to playing a little Tecmo Bowl with my son, and whatever girls play with my daughter. Consider it a new kind of family tradition.

In Rambling Whitless Wonder style, here are some things that found their way across my desk this past week

1. A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the inconsiderate people we all live around who do things because they have a lack of consideration for other people. Well, now a few businesses in Buffalo are getting hit by the same sort of people. Read this:
2. I find it funny to hear everyone saying the two best teams made it into the BCS Championship Game. I don't buy it. Texas beat Oklahoma on the field. USC is a damn good team. I think Penn State could beat Oklahoma - they have enough athletes to make it a game. You mean to tell me USC couldn't beat Texas or Oklahoma? When you have 10 good one-loss teams, it's awfully hard to say two of them are the best teams in the country. This year makes very clear the need for a college football championship. If Washington and Jefferson, whose kids go to class and are preparing for life after football, can play in a playoff, then so can the kids from Florida or Alabama or USC.
3. If you're Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, wouldn't you have kept a bit lower public profile recently? What an idiot. You're in position to appoint a Senator to a high-profile seat, and you're on TV on Monday taking a pretty hard line with the Bush Administration over the automobile bailout knowing full well that you were being investigated for a political corruption scheme to sell Barack Obama's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. I don't know what should happen in Illinois politics, but this case sounds eerily similar to countless corruption cases in the state going back to sometime in the Abraham Lincoln administration. And, Rod, you need a haircut, my man. I think you'll get it in prison - that and a new cellmate/boyfriend named Bubba. 
4. I've probably made this threat before, but if Fran Drescher becomes a U.S. Senator, I'm moving to Paraguay. She sounds like Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer, and is about as intelligent as Wile E. Coyote after a frontal lobotomy. What's next - Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as U.S. Attorney General?
6. I like Conan O'Brien's show -- seriously, I watched it every night when I was in college. Now, 12:30 a.m. is a little late. But, how does ààNobody likes me' comedy work when you're in the prime late-night slot? Hope it works out for Conan, but I wonder if older people will get him as well as younger people do.


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Contra -- name me one 30-year-old man who can't remember the code to get 100 free lives, and I'll show you a 30-year-old with really repressed memories of childhood.