Baby Boomer Research Discussion

Posted By: gamegrrrl

Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/13/06 05:18 PM

I'd like to begin with the following question, although feel free to say whatever is on your mind, including comments about gamers outside the boomer window.

Question: What distinguishes Baby Boomer Gamers, and indeed all gamers over 40, from gamers in other age groups?
Posted By: BrownEyedTigre

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/13/06 05:22 PM

Hi Gamegrrrl. wave I am going to move you up to Discussions forum. Follow the link in the upper left to find your thread.

Ana laugh
Posted By: chrissie

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/13/06 06:22 PM

Was this survey posted on a cross section of sites other than primarily an adventure site? Did gamers under '40' also participate in a survey in a cross section of sites?

For me, I would need a little more info that proves that there is a distinction between gamers in different age groups. Yes! children's games aside, we know that action games are targetted at the younger male and they sell!! But how many people over '40' also like them and how many people under '40' prefer adventure?

Sorry! it is not my intention to be contentious but without facts I think your question is based on a generalization! smile
Posted By: Becky

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/13/06 06:54 PM

Hey gamegrrrl -- the link you posted was causing the screen to scroll from side to side, so I edited it -- it still links to the survey though!

There's a huge age range of gamers in my house, and personal experience is all I can speak to.

My sons like games where they can move around and explore at a faster pace than you find in most adventure games. They both like games that test their reflexes, but they also like games that make them think. A plot is nice, but is not the reason that they game. A game with a lot of stand-alone puzzles will leave them stuck, and they don't have the patience to spend a lot of time being stuck.

I like games where I can explore at a slower pace, and I like appealing characters and a good plot. If I never have to engage in timed tests of skill that's just fine with me.

Games that both generations in my family have enjoyed -- 80 Days, Dreamfall, the Bone games, WANTED: A Wild Western Adventure, Ankh, Psychonauts.
Posted By: colpet

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/13/06 10:17 PM

My perception is that PC gamers who start later in life (like I did in 2000)seem to be less tech friendly and seem to prefer more cerebral challenges (as opposed to dexterity based). PC Gamers that started playing available games in the 80's seem to enjoy a wider variety of types of games (consoles, RPG, Sims). It would be very interesting to see if this is supported by your survey.
Posted By: The Haze

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 03:43 AM

Please be assured that I don't want to take this in a political direction, but I've been a teacher and watched 'other age groups' for a very long time. The Boomers all had grandparents involved in WWI and their parents who were occupied by WWII. The Boomers themselves had to deal with Vietnam and the civil rights violence of the '60s. As a result, they tend toward games where they need not be violent and/or need not kill things. This tendency naturally leads toward adventure gaming, as opposed to playing most RPGs or shooters. I'm fully aware that this is a bit simplistic, but people tend to relax by involving themselves in that which is not normal for them. The Baby Boomers grew up hearing about or being in violent, country-encompassing, and emotional times. They simply want their gaming to be a bit more peaceful.
Posted By: JMK

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 03:58 AM

Not entirely, Haze. I am a female boomer and love rpgs. I don't mind killing at all in games, although I do not like to see a lot of gore. I like the feeling of being powerful in a fantasy world.

I also play adventure games, as I have this theory about balancing things out. I do the same thing in real life. Here I am a gamer, in real life I'm a single mom (daughter grown), and a secretary who also lifts weights and is an archer.

I think that as we get older we get immersed in adventure games to challenge our intellect. Other boomers stick strictly to puzzle games. Some of us have been around long enough to be good at strategy and so play strategy games (something I'm not).

I've found that somehow the skills I have in life get reflected into games, and vice versa. Not that I've ever killed a troll in real life! rotfl

Posted By: nickie

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 06:49 AM

rotfl Jean. No trolls, eh?
That's an interesting perspective, The Haze. Like Jean, I am also a boomer and balance my playing time between adventure games and "action type" games (mainly RPGs). If I were to list my top ten all genre fav list, it would be split pretty evenly.

Colpet,I think you have a very good point there, and would sure be interested in hearing if this was the case.
Posted By: The Haze

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 10:19 AM

smile Hmm, I fully agree with JMK about the desire to challenge our intellect. In general, I think our two theories fit together easily. Judging from what I read on these pages though, I have a feeling that adventure gamers are the least eclectic type of players.

F.Y.I., my wife, who is a wonderfully practical woman, insists that I present her three reasons why I play games. They are;
1. Television generally stinks
2. If I read any more my muscles will atrophy
3. Golf cannot be well-played at night

Maybe she has it figured out
Posted By: Gamehound

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 10:34 AM

I think you need to first define what a baby boomer is (ie someone born between the years of 1946 and 1964). Myself, I was born after the baby boom (which is associated with the years service men returned from wars the U.S. was involved in).

Myself, I tend to enjoy the very same games that baby boomers enjoy playing. It is true that a lot of gamers of today enjoy FPS, and are usually teenagers, but there isn't a hard-and-fast rule. I just tend to think that age isn't a determining factor. I believe the determining factor in gaming tastes is based on the gamer's interests in gaming.

Posted By: KateVa

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 01:02 PM

Interesting survey...I thought the results posted so far sounded as if those surveyed were all from this forum! LOL

It took me longer than twenty minutes to answer (trying to remember my top ten games!!!) and I had to leave before I could add much in the way of comments. I was curious, though, why education hadn't been included...would be interesting to see how background correlates with the type of games enjoyed.

Posted By: wysewomon

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 02:46 PM

I think it may have to do with differences in stress management. Most people get less upset about things as they age because they learn that not everything is a matter of life and death. Whereas younger people are so stirred up about everything; they need more of an outlet for violence and adrenaline. That's not to say older people never need that wink --sometimes you really do want just to blow things up or shoot things.

In my teens and twenties, I played a lot of arcade games (in arcades), where the gaming process--standing there in front of the console--was almost physical, likie you were fighting with the console as much as fighting w/in the game. But as I got older I didn't want to fight so much. I remember one of the first adventure games I played--I think it was Dragonsphere--where you had to trick a fairy to gain access to the magic wood or some such, and I was so delighted that you had to solve riddles rather than just pulling out your sword and charging in.

Well, that's my opinion, anyway.

Posted By: nickie

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 03:01 PM

Just to add on to your coattails WW, I think part of that stress management or fulfillment is in some cases picking games that are generally opposite of what we encounter in our real day to day activities. In a broader sense, as I realize almost every game is different from what we would encounter in real life! I guess that's sort of off the topic though, isn't it. laugh What I mean is that I live in a remote area, and often have to tinker with machinery and what have you. I tend to not like the games that are first person mainly isolated with machine type puzzles (ie. Myst).
Posted By: GreyFuss

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 05:50 PM

gamegrrl wave

Good Question.

After giving this some thought let me run this by you and get your thoughts. This thinking is outside the box and does not apply to all but just generally speaking.

Lets start with the Baby Boomers and the era in which they (me too) were raised. As children Boomers were what I will call "Mental". By that I mean that they had to mostly use their mind and imagination to entertain them selves. There were not the things to do to occupy our time like what was to come later. We made up stories, acted them out. Played dress up, and Army with nothing more that rags or a stick. We read books and only imagined in our heads what the characters looked like, not watched on TV or the movies see an actors face. We listened to music and in our own minds developed the meaning to the words. No MTV to SHOW us what the music means. Could it be that this is why Baby Boomers are more attracted to Adventure games. The games are more mental imaginative.

Non-Baby Boomers are what I would call "Physical"
There childhood was more based on things to do. Things to SEE and FEEL. VCR's, Nintendo's, Malls, Video Arcades,Cable TV,Sports Camps, etc etc
Posted By: gamegrrrl

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 06:23 PM

Wonderful ideas, theories and thoughts. This is very useful.

Regarding the scope of the survey, this is being done as a small project, by only one researcher, and my hope is to expand this initiative with some follow-up studies. Vis a vis chrissie's questions:

1) The survey has been posted on several sites, including sites that are not exclusive to Baby Boomers; The Older Gamers, for instance, is one of those that caters to gamers 25 and older; they do not have a focus on adventure games

2) I agree with the point that it would be good to do a comparison study, e.g., ask the same questions of people in OTHER age groups. The main reason this is not being done in this "round" is insufficient time and resources, and a decision to keep the scope fairly narrow for starters.

I think the points made by The Haze and by GreyFuss about the socio-cultural-historical context and the media landscape in which the Baby Boomer Generation is actually very interesting. I wonder if anyone else has any thoughts about that?
Posted By: Becky

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 07:40 PM

Cultural landscapes differ, even within the same country. For instance, I feel my children have been subjected to far more violent media content since 911 (not to mention having friends whose relatives died in the World Trade Center) than I ever was aware of as a child or even as a college student.

This hasn't steered them toward peaceful games.

I watched television as a child -- though not nearly as much as my children have done. And a few rounds of pinball (I was very bad at it) was about as close as I ever got to electronic gaming -- of course electronic gaming is a large part of my children's lives.

I think kids nowadays are used to more stimulation, more music, more toys, more travel, more visual content, and more information in general. They handle MORE than we did as kids. They probably sleep less, and they undoubtedly read less. Elementary school is harder now than it was in my day. High school is exponentially more difficult now than when I was in high school.

Kids don't have to be as creative in order not to be bored as they used to be. Does this make them less imaginative? Could be. Or does modern life give them more context, more symbols, more ideas with which to be creative?
Posted By: chrissie

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 07:52 PM

Thanks gamegrrrl for coming back with some answers to my questions!

I can identify with a lot of what Greyfuss said - about basically, when young, having to find ways of entertaining yourself and having to be imaginitive. Although we had a TV in our house from my earliest memory ( we went through periods when we didn't have one!) we were limited to what we watched and encouraged to play games, play outside and generally find ways of entertaining ourselves.
I have always been interested in reading a good story & love films so for me a good adventure games contains aspects of these, I also like an intellectual challenge, I can spend a week trying to solve a particularly hard crossword, so can agree with The Haze on this - also TV for the most part is not that inspiring!

I am still curious though - has your survey so far shown that people over '40' veer towards adventure games generally? I wouldn't be surprised and comments so far have been interesting - but I still think that there needs to be a survey done for younger people - as so far it is assumed there is a difference in gaming tastes but e.g my sister, sister-in-law and their friends are younger and love adventure games!

Posted By: Jenny

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 08:11 PM

I didn't check out the research questions, Gamegrrrl, because I am way outside the target group, being a child of the 1930 era. But in the discussion here, I notice one thing that hasn't come up--several years ago we did an informal survey of our members, and it turned out that almost without exception those who were adventure game fans are also avid readers. I'm not sure how this would fit in with your research, but I thought I'd mention it....
Posted By: Wollmaus

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 08:44 PM

I agree with you, Jenny - I think the love to read (like 'doing adventures in your head') has something to do with it:

I can read in my own timing, as slow or fast as feel, I can 'replay' passages in my head, I can spin the story further on whenever I want - the same I can do with adventure games.

I don't know how American media is working at the moment, but as we Germans tend to import a lot of that, I'd imagine it is nearly the same as over here: the quick-cuts (sorry, probably not the right expression) and scene-changes in films are getting ever more and faster. 'Slow' films (mostly French laugh ) are declared 'culture films' and run late in the evening or in the smallest cinemas. Media experts apologize with the attention span of the average viewer, which is now less than ?? (honestly, I have forgotten how many seconds - for me it sounded more like they were talking about infants.) We all speak of a 'fast-moving' time - slow is set equal to stupid and boring.

But, as GreyFuss said, we grew up in a time much slower and only our own imagination (and books, of course!) as entertainment. And as Becky pointed out, kids nowadays are used to a lot of stimulation - they don't read so much as nothing 'is happening', so it stands to reason that they prefer 'faster' games with more action.
Posted By: gremlin

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 09:12 PM

I would suggest that the reading -to- adventure game correlation bears alot more weight than the WWI/WWII/Vietnam (etc) -to- non-violent game correlation.

In general, avid readers have a much more developed sense of story and imagination, and are more willing to let a story develop, rather than wanting immediate gratification. The former is much more the focus of adventure games, as opposed to the immediacy of action/FPS games.

I think RPGs tend to hit a middle ground because of the more strategic character development aspects of the games.

Finally, I think that an individuals preference for a given genre depends much more upon their personal reaction to their environment, rather than any over-bearing cultural environment. Afterall, not everyone reacted to the Vietnam war/police action/conflict by becoming a beat poet or a hippy. wink

Posted By: butterflybabe

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/14/06 10:12 PM

I think I'm in the category of late boomers. I was born in 53. Although, thankfully, I've not been personally affected by any war, I have a basic moral objection to guns since I think they generally do society more harm than good, so I defintely steer away from any kind of killng in gaming. I dealt with it a little bit of shooting in one of the adventure games I played but I didn't know it was part of the game before I bought it.

I love games with stare at the screen puzzles vs fast action. Nancy Drew is my all-time favorite and I have played all of them. I don't like science and the 'adventure' of messing up in a game annoys me so I use WTs and UHS a lot.

Sorry if I went off the topic here but those are my thoughts. Good luck on your survey, gamegrrrl!

Posted By: wysewomon

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/15/06 04:17 PM

Becky, I have to respectfully disagree that high school and elementary school are more dificult these days. IMHO, schooling has gotten progressively less difficult since the 1800s. Some of those old McGuffy readers have literary references that college students wouldn't understand. And kids just aren't taught the basics like I was in my day: grammar and how to put thoughts together in a coherent way and suchlike. True, there are different things covered--we had no "tech lab" or computer lab, except for a terminal hooked to a mainframe that only the math & science geeks had any interest in, writing programs in Basic that were put out on long rolls of punch tape. But I'm shocked at the low level of expectation in Humanities.

Well, that has nothing to do with gaming... except to say, I agree that probably people who like adventure games are good readers!

Posted By: The Haze

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/15/06 05:56 PM

It seems probable that both Wysewoman and Greyfuss are on to something. I have taught Sr. High
Posted By: which2

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 04:36 AM

I'm definately in the 'late boomer' catagory, born in 57, and I, too, have to believe that avid reading has much to do with the preference for adventure games. I love to read, usually devouring a book within a day or two. Three of my four kids enjoy reading also, although at a bit slower pace. Those three also like adventure games, but they enjoy hack and slash, shoot 'em ups, too. The fourth one wouldn't read a book if his life depended on it, and thinks adventure games are 'boring, silly and stupid'. He absolutrely adores RPGs and FPS games. The gorier - the better.

I also believe kids today use these action games in order to 'act out'. Consider this: All their lives they are sent mixed messages. Horror movies, shooter games and Reality shows about how to stab people in the back to get what you want abound. Yet at the same time society is censuring nursery rhymes and cartoons as being too violent! Kids are told to 'use your head' - then they are handed a calculator and a computer to work things out. I know...let's all watch Extreme Sports tonight - but did you know there are now advocates out there trying to do away with seesaws and swings because they're too dangerous? And they're winning!! duh woozy

What better way than to take out your frustrations and work through your confusion that by blowing things up or shooting things ? I think if I got that many mixed signals, I'd probably be an action gamer too. laugh Thankfully I grew up during a time when we were encouraged to use our creativity constructively, not selfishly and destructively. I know that has a major bearing on my preference for adventure games. I'd much rather use brains than brawn when I'm gaming.
Posted By: Lotus777

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 04:55 AM

Where is this survey? I think I qualify as I, too, am a late boomer, born in 1953, an avid reader and "addicted" to the Adventure genre. I, also, dislike getting killed or killing in a game and avoid it when possible. I'm "game" to take the survey if steered in the right direction.. I would also like to know the results. Thank-you.
Posted By: Becky

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 05:03 AM

Hey Lotus --

Here's the survey.
Posted By: Lotus777

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 05:20 AM

Thanks Becky, I'm off.
Posted By: Melanie1

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 09:46 AM

This is an interesting topic, gamegrrl, and I love everyone's thoughtful and insightful theories and see the merit of them. smile The survey was fun too and I spent quite a bit longer than indicated on it also but enjoyed it so no problem.

I think the correlation to enjoying reading is the most important factor mentioned in genre choices. People who enjoy reading, enjoy using their minds and do so to relax, taking their time and moving at their own pace to savor or speed through some parts of the book or the game. The adventure game genre is the one most like reading. In fact, a lot of adventure games also have a lot of reading in them. There are usually journals and background info, letters and a defined story. Puzzles, another quiet and mental type of relaxation, are plentiful. RPG's share a lot of these traits, though they also have physical elements, and I think that's why they are also part of the mix that a lot of adventure gamers play.

In my opinion, the politics of the country in the era in which we grew up and part of our experience as young adults doesn't come into play in this choice. Our present politics affect our game choices to a much larger extent. At least they do in my case. smile

I like the thought about the way modern children grow up with all the toys and constant violent input more. It seems like a more valid theory to me and I think it plays a large part in choices of genre.

There's another factor also though that hasn't been mentioned and plays an important part of the choice of genre for a lot of us. There's a factor that we do not share with younger gamers in general. We are at the point where we may have age related physical problems like arthritis, bad backs, old injuries, etc. This makes a major difference in the games we choose to play. As a matter of fact, it's THE most important factor in my choices. There are FPS's that I would like to play but just can't. Lots of fast action and competing with a computer in reflexes and quick movement, is harder if not impossible for a lot of us, whereas that usually is not the case with those who are younger.
Posted By: Carrie

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 08:26 PM

Off on a tangent~
Here's a personal experience that lends itself to Wysewoman's and Haze's suggestions that education (in the realm of the Humanities) has become less stringent:

While reading James Thurber's "Here Lies Miss Groby" (a short anecdote in the collection titled, "The Thurber Carnival"), I came across a term (for a figure of speech) I don't remember ever hearing nor learning in the 1950s & 60s: Metonymy.

Thurber: "There are several kinds of metonymies.. but the one that will come to mind most easily .. is Container for the Thing Contained...In a great but probably misguided attempt to keep my mind on its hinges, I would stare at the ceiling and try to think of an example of the Thing Contained for the Container."

Fantastic topic. Feel as though I've been given an essay topic (2000+ words minimum, please).
Posted By: The Haze

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 10:33 PM

laugh Since I have no compunctions about stealing other people's ideas, I feel you may all have combined to produce a topic for my advanced Senior classes next year. This will bear some contemplation, but if you hear loud groans from Southeast Michigan next Spring, you will all be at least partly to blame.
Posted By: Becky

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 11:05 PM

Well, no one under my roof knows off-hand what Metonymy means. I suppose from this I can conclude that neither generation has been sufficiently educated.

The Haze -- will keep an ear open for the howls. It could be worse -- you could assign them The Brothers Karamazov.
Posted By: BeaSong

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/16/06 11:42 PM

I'm with you, Gremlin, (and several others who've said basically the same). I don't think there is a connection of WWII and our current gaming interests, nor current politics for that matter.

According to the survey, I'm pre-boomer age (1941)
but love adventure games and don't play the shoot em up games. I loved to shoot a cap pistol as a child, but now enjoy the quiet mental work out of problem solving an adventure game. I hate it when I have to resort to a walk through in order to proceed. And yes, I love to read, much more now than I did as a child.
Posted By: Jenny

Re: Baby Boomer Research Discussion - 06/17/06 01:07 AM

Originally posted by The Haze:
laugh Since I have no compunctions about stealing other people's ideas, I feel you may all have combined to produce a topic for my advanced Senior classes next year. This will bear some contemplation, but if you hear loud groans from Southeast Michigan next Spring, you will all be at least partly to blame.
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