I discovered this week that I’m officially an “Old” when it comes to music. Whenever my kids mention an artist, I always listen to them on Spotify to see if they’re appropriate and what kind of music they even like. I’m also always curious what makes for popular music these days. I know it won’t always jive with my tastes in music, but I get curious nonetheless. More often than not, I shake my head and move on, just like my parents did with me.
This week, I heard about a certain artist who won practically all the Grammys, so I decided to check her out. Yeah, I don’t get it. Part of it is because I’ve heard this voice and style before, and her name is Fiona Apple. That’s when it hit me that I’m an Old.
I can practically hear my parents tell me and my sister that our music is crap. Am I only going to go concerts of bands that were popular in the 90s? As I check my concert calendar, that seems to be the case. Perhaps I should invest in a cane now.
As I’m trying to come to terms with my status, another revelation dawns on me: will there come a time when I’m an Old in gaming?
For example, my kids and I rarely like the same games, with the exception of Pokemon, naturally. I’ve noticed a genre trend with them, and from talking to other parents, it’s not just my kids. Thanks to hits like Minecraft and (ugh) Roblox, the kids these days prefer sandbox games. I previously wrote about playing Pokemon Shield
for with my youngest, and his biggest hang-up about the game was the RPG format. Now that I’ve he’s finished it, he’s so much happier running around the Galar region and doing whatever he wants. (Whatever he wants includes one-hit KO-ing all of the heavy hitting Pokemon, just so we’re clear.)
We have the same issues when it comes to LEGO games. They don’t want to play the story mode to unlock the freeplay mode; they want it all to be open season from the get-go. What usually happens is that I play the game first and then I make a second save for them to mess around in.
In addition to the sandbox genre, they also prefer multiplayer-only games. They want arena shooters, battle royale, and the like. They have zero interest in playing a game for a story or by themselves, to be frank. Whenever I mention a game they want doesn’t have multiplayer, they groan and almost immediately lose interest.
I know there are plenty of people who do prefer multiplayer-only, but kids these days seem to NOT want to play alone. It doesn’t matter if it’s co-op or versus, they just need other people. If it’s only local co-op, they’ll try to play together or drag me into it. I don’t know how many times I have to tell them that I loathe playing LEGO games in co-op. It’s just trash, but play without someone? Perish the thought.
The multiplayer can’t be just any game as well. They want games like Overwatch and Fortnite, not MMORPGs. Arena shooters and battle royale offer quick matches that fits their short attention spans perfectly. But a game like Final Fantasy XIV or Fallout 76 that has lengthy dungeons and a rather large grind? Forget it.
As I watch the gaming industry as a whole lean into what kids these days prefer, I can’t help but wonder if my style of gaming will be the mark of an Old. Single-player gaming won’t disappear, of course, but will it fall by the wayside in popularity? Will I one day say, “I don’t get what you kids like to play”? Or worse, say “Back in my day” as I clutch my what-will-be old school RPGs and shooters? I really should invest in that cane now.