From Button Mashing to Budgeting: Gaming as an Adult

Gone are the days when gamers were stereotyped as teenagers holed up in their rooms, spending hours on end mashing buttons on their video game controllers. The gaming industry has evolved, and so have the gamers.  

Today, adults make up a significant portion of the gaming community, and they are just as passionate about their hobby as their younger counterparts. However, adult gamers often have to juggle their love for gaming with other responsibilities, such as work, family, and budgeting.  

But before we crack on with looking at what it means to be an adult gamer, let us pause to reflect on the evolution of gaming as a medium.

The Evolution of Gaming 

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been fortunate to have played video games for decades, and during that time you will have experienced the evolution of the industry.  Gone are the days of two or three worthwhile game releases each year, replaced by dozens of games being released monthly, subscription services and streaming services (which are not necessarily different things).

The gaming industry has come a long way since the first video game was invented in the 1950s. Back then, gaming was a niche hobby for computer enthusiasts who had the technical know-how to create their own games. In the 1970s and 1980s, video games became more mainstream thanks to the introduction of arcade games and home consoles like the Atari and the Nintendo Entertainment System. By the 1990s, video games had become a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the games themselves had evolved from simple 2D graphics to complex 3D worlds. 

Today, gaming is a global phenomenon that spans across all demographics. The industry has grown to include mobile games, PC games, console games, and virtual reality games. The popularity of gaming has also given rise to competitive gaming, or esports, which has become a legitimate career path for many gamers. With the advent of streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube, gamers can even make a living by broadcasting their gameplay to thousands of viewers. 

Why Adult Gaming is Different from Childhood Gaming 

While gaming is a hobby that can be enjoyed at any age, adult gamers approach the activity differently than their younger counterparts. For one, adult gamers have more responsibilities than children and teenagers, which means they have less time to spend playing games. Adult gamers also tend to have different priorities than younger gamers, such as building a career, starting a family, and investing in their future. This can mean that game time is limited, which can lead to some adult gamers shying away from games that are too long.  On the other hand, some adult gamers gravitate towards those longer games, with the intention of the game they are playing being their main game for the foreseeable future.

Despite the challenges that come with being an adult gamer, there are many benefits to this hobby that make it worthwhile. For one, gaming can be a form of stress relief and escapism for adults who are dealing with the pressures of work and family life. Gaming can also be a way to socialize and connect with other like-minded individuals, whether it’s through online gaming communities or local meetups. 

Three people with guns in Fallout 76.

In addition, gaming can be a way to exercise the brain and improve cognitive function. Many games require problem-solving, critical thinking, and quick reflexes, which can help keep the mind sharp. Some studies have even shown that gaming can help improve hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning skills. 

The psychology of adult gamers is a complex topic that has been studied by psychologists and academics alike. One theory is that gaming provides a sense of autonomy and control that is lacking in other aspects of adult life. In a game, the player has complete control over their actions and decisions, which can be a refreshing change of pace from the real world. 

While gaming can be a fun and rewarding hobby, there are also challenges that come with being an adult gamer. For one, adult gamers often struggle to find the time to play games, especially if they have demanding jobs or family obligations. This can make it difficult to keep up with the latest releases, or to complete games that require a lot of time and dedication. 

Another challenge faced by adult gamers is the cost of gaming. High-end gaming PCs and consoles can be expensive, and games themselves can cost upwards of $60 or more. This can make it difficult for adult gamers to justify investing in their hobby, especially if they are on a tight budget and have a lot of responsibilities.

On the flip side, adult gamers may have more disposable income, so can make more gaming purchases than their younger counterparts.  It really depends on each person’s individual situation. 

How to Balance Gaming and Adult Responsibilities 

So how do adult gamers balance their love for gaming with other responsibilities? The key is to prioritize and manage time effectively. This means setting aside dedicated time for gaming, and being disciplined enough to stick to that schedule. It also means being realistic about how much time can be devoted to gaming, and choosing games that can be played in shorter sessions. 

Another way to balance gaming and adult responsibilities is to involve family and friends in the hobby. Gaming can be a fun and social activity that can be enjoyed with loved ones, whether it’s playing a co-op game with a spouse or child, or hosting a gaming night with friends. 

Finally, budgeting is an important aspect of balancing gaming and adult responsibilities. By setting a budget for gaming, adult gamers can ensure that they are not overspending on their hobby and that they are making responsible financial decisions. 

 Adult Gamers are Here to Stay

Adult gaming is a growing trend that shows no signs of slowing down. While adult gamers may face challenges and stereotypes, they are a passionate and dedicated community who have found a way to balance their love for gaming with other responsibilities. By prioritizing time, involving loved ones in the hobby, and budgeting effectively, adult gamers can continue to enjoy their hobby for years to come.

Uncharted 4, Drake gaming on the couch with a friend as an adult gamer.

Whether you are an adult gamer yourself or just curious about this growing trend, don’t be afraid to explore the world of gaming and see what it has to offer.