Is Your Brain Too Old For Video Games?

Is Your Brain Too Old For Video Games?


Today, 63% of U.S. households are home to someone who plays video games regularly. In the broadest sense most of us are “gamers” and “Let’s play” has become a national motto But since the early days of pinball machines and classic arcades, one thing has been crystal clear Some people are way better at this than others Nowhere is that more apparent that at a competitive gaming tournament Hundreds of players from around the world compete for prizes up to 50,000 dollars Watching the furious fingers of the world’s top players, flying playing combos and kills, the obvious question is “What makes them so good?” What makes the experts better than the rest of us? The obvious answer is practice, but looking around a tournament like this, one can’t help but notice these players are young The average American gamer is 35 years old and nearly half of all gamers are older than 36 But not here. Many of these elite players are barely out of high school You’d think older players could be more experienced, be better But that doesn’t seem to be the case here at the highest level. Are older gamers at some disadvantage? Are their brains already over the hill? To solve mysteries about how we think and learn Scientists have turned to games themselves And the most famous is one of the oldest For decades chess has been used to study complex thinking and the science of expertise. For instance, when shown snapshots of chess games Expert chess players can recall the position of nearly every piece, where average players cannot but when shown snapshots of pieces arranged randomly Expert players did no better than novices. This tells us that part of being an expert is extracting and processing information faster than the average person but maybe only in the context of that particular skill Real life, however, demands way more from our brains than what chess can teach us We don’t spend minutes pondering the strategic consequences of taking a left or right to avoid an oncoming train And we don’t plan our route to work in strange L shapes. But for a more real world look at how our brains perform scientists are turning to a different game Starcraft 2 in Starcraft 2, two players battle head-to-head for domination of a territory Winning means your army totally defeating the other. Just like real life, there’s no turns You simply do as many things as you can but a few things make Starcraft especially challenging I always like to compare Starcraft 2 to playing several games of chess, but in real-time So it is a game which requires Extreme physical dexterity But in terms of mental acuity you need to be able to make decisions in real-time at an incredibly fast place while working with incomplete information First most important thing to even get beyond average in Starcraft 2 is your ability to do what’s called “macro” Which is the management of your economy in the most efficient way possible But while doing so, simultaneously perform extremely rapid and intricate micro-actions somewhere else on the screen so the ability to do both those without compromising the other, that’s the mark of a true pro player With so much happening in different places on Micro and Macro levels Starcraft 2 is a recipe for cognitive overload Granted, Protoss, Terrans and Zerg warring over vespene gas and space minerals isn’t exactly “realistic” But playing Starcraft 2 is a useful real-world experiment. Multiple simultaneous goals, constantly Redirecting attention, real-time combat: these are test cases for many of our higher brain functions Since every mouse click and keyboard stroke in a Starcraft 2 game is saved in a log file Scientists can reconstruct every moment in a match and after analyzing thousands of games from every skill level scientists found Unsurprisingly, players who perform the most actions are more likely to win. Elite Starcraft players can regularly hit 300 actions per minute Even up to 600 in intense battle. That’s an unbelievable 10 actions per second, each with purpose. But let’s get to the most important question: Are younger players always better? -Some people think it’s a physical thing But I really don’t think so. There’s World-Renowned pianist who have been doing things with their hands like a Starcraft 2 player up into their 50s and 60s It’s not that we get mentally slower as we get older I think it’s probably the opposite, but what I do think that happens as you get older is you have more things on your mind Taxes, your wife, your husband, whatever uhh, It’s not that you’re mentally or physically incapable of performing as high as a level as you were as a younger person I think you are not able to put all of your thoughts in one direction, focus on the game. [Host] We all want that to be true, but what does the science say? Canadian researchers looked at how long it took players to act after moving to a new map view that lag was lowest at age 24 and slowed as players got older. A 39-year-old Bronze player may be equal to their 24-year-old opponent in all other aspects, but if the older player is just 150 milliseconds slower at acting after every map movement, that can cost thirty seconds over the course of a 15 minute match More than enough to make the difference at Elite levels. According to research on Starcraft It seems that after age 24 our brains are on the decline, at least when it comes to the thinking and moving part But if you’re older than 24, like me, don’t lose hope. When researchers looked at how players multi task, switching between Economic and military aspects of the game, they didn’t see that age-related decline Older players can use strategy and change the way they play the game to make up for some of the other losses -There are people that have made very successful careers for themselves focusing on the speed of the game Maybe they don’t always make the most amazing decisions Maybe they are predictable in their strategy, but they’re so darn fast that they will just drown you in actions Then there’s other people that are so smart, so intuitive they know exactly what you’re gonna Do before you even know what you’re going to do But in Starcraft you can be fast or smart or both And I think that’s amazing. So play while you can because whether you’re an average or elite player Time is of the essence. GG. Stay curious. Physics might show us the universe’s basic building blocks and biology lets the universe understand itself But chemistry is where all the fun happens in between. We have thousands of chemical reactions going on inside us every second But it’s the ones we’ve mastered with our hands in labs and workshops and factories and even kitchens that have made humans what we are today. A few chemical technologies have made such an explosive change in how we live that they’ve altered the very trajectory of humanity

59 thoughts on “Is Your Brain Too Old For Video Games?

  1. Older players are at a disadvantage ! Less free time ! My son kicks my ass at all first person shooters . He can't touch me at mortal kombat . I grew up with that s*** . I think it's mostly about desire .

  2. I'm calling BS… I'm 36 yrs old and I have about 300 games and several consoles. It's simple, when your young it's natural to be more competitive. As u get older you just don't give a damn like u did when harmones are raging at 18.

  3. I get mad at the fact that I can't enjoy video games anymore. I want to play, I fantasize about playing, but every time I pick up a controller or turn on the computer I can't play more than 5 minutes and it pisses me off. I want to play but if I try, I'm bored. At least I have my memories. My only regret, not playing more video games when I was a kid.

  4. I've actually noticed that I've started to play a lot slower, but there is strategy involved. Like when I play an FPS game, most people play like their ass is on fire, but I've just come to start to take a deep breath, calm myself, and play at a relaxed pace. Still able to somewhat keep up with them.

  5. I'm in my 30s and play at least 8 hours a day usually. It helps me escape all my chronic health issues. Plus I got hooked on a couple of mmo's.

  6. Never, and the mere suggestion verges on blasphemy.They're going to have to unhook some sort of gaming apparatus from my corpse before they trundle it off.

  7. I’m 32. I feel like I’m past my prime. 23-24 was a great age for me. It’s been down hill ever since in terms of my level of curiosity, stamina, physical fitness, etc.

  8. Probably true, video games haven't held my interest much since i was 18 or 19, I got back into them in my mid 20s pretty big when games like Skyrim and Red Dead came out and life in general slowed down a bit. Now at 32 I only play games to entertain my 7 year old or sometimes if I'm bored. I also play quite a bit when I have my ritalin prescription lol!

  9. All I know, is that I'm not as talented at video games any more, and don't have nearly as much patience, on top of not as much time to practice as I used to. Even if I had the time, I'm just not as interested in investing time in any game that comes along. I spend way more time watching Youtube videos and Twitch streams these days, than I ever have the urge to play a video game myself. I used to play hours every day for years too lol.

  10. I played sc for over 10 years. It definitely helped me optimize my brain in multi tasking, memory and precision. I see the difference at work today, compared to non-gamers. Sc in high level is definitely more challenging than chess.

  11. I used to play games in the difficult setting(when I was 13-16)then medium, now I Play it on easy(29-33) I don't think games are getting harder is just that I am not as good.

  12. They just keep changing the games in the tournaments. If CS 1.6 was still big then we’d only see old school guys winning

  13. I’m 69 been playing video games since..ZX Spectrum…It’s just an enjoyable pastime nothing more. I have PS4 PRO/XBOX ONE X With 80+ games. The best days of gaming are over now it’s aimed at the very young & not enough games for all ages…Too many sequels every year and button bashing shooters for the 🧠☠️👍🇬🇧

  14. When I was younger I used to play multiple games, but now I focus on just one or two max (don't have time or desire for more) and I think i do better. I'm 34 atm and I hit diamond in league for the first time.

  15. I get that science thinks we auto-decline after 24. But this is bullsht. I’m 29 and my brain works more effectively then ever before.

  16. it's subjective, if an older gamer competes on a game they played for years it might give em the edge over younger minds and reflexes. also, multitasking is counter productive, more mistakes can be made because of devided attention

  17. This isn't surprising to me. At almost any competitive level, it's nearly always younger people that succeed. Be it Football, Tennis, Athletics, badminton etc. Why would videogaming be any different?

  18. The average gamer WAS 35 years old in 2007 when the organization figures that and the site you are referencing went up. It includes 65 year old Facebook gamers and everyone in between. Sorry, your video is bs.

  19. I’ll be 70 in 3 months and have been gaming since Pong, and currently play COD Modern Warfare and BF4. My only limits are from 50 year old injuries and daily I watch kids rage quit & insult each other. Playing for pure enjoyment is never age related. Btw, a game harder than chess is Go. Some of those best players are older than I am

  20. 51 years old I played since the first game pong came out , I play cod and rocket league almost every day and place very high up on average

  21. You’re kidding right? Younger gamers are easier to exploit… they don’t need a legitimate salary to pay bills. They just need “sponsors” aka people who give them free products in exchange for their services that will actually bring in customers. And kids are gonna want to keep up with kids “competitively” aka impulsively……. therefore spend lots money on merchandise.

    This is why I gave up on humanity along time ago… the level of ignorant narcissism needs to go extinct.

    Oh and just like we don’t want certain species of animals to make contact with people for both groups’ safety maybe, just maybe, advanced civilizations feel the same way about our barbaric yet cute civilization… just saying 🤦🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️🤡🌎

  22. Older gamers don't live in their parents basement and have bills to pay so they don't have 10hrs a day practicing a specific video game. Come on man this is obvious.

  23. I'm 86 and I'm playing now more than ever, since I'm retired, I have all the time in the world. My favorite game to play is CS GO and I'm Sheriff on competitive mode there.

  24. So many comments dancing around the fact that you cognitively peak in your 20's in SOME aspects. There are still plenty of other things you can be an expert at after your 20s, competitive gaming just ain't one of them.

  25. As i got older, i prefer cooperative over competitive…back in the day i ran tournaments for fighting games and fps.

  26. It’s practice. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are with gaming in general. Each game still carries nuances that you have to master. Young people have far more disposable time to devote to a single game. That’s what it takes to master a game. Take away my job and my desire to lead a normal life, and I could perform at higher levels.

  27. I will add my two cents since i grew up playing games: when i was young i had more patience to play games i could spend hours on it, when i was in my twenties i get angry playing the clunky nintendo games and do 20 minutes at most before switching to a more modern game, now that im in my thirties i play 5 minutes to see if the game is stupid, ifnit is then i drop it and do something more worthwhile, as you get older you dont want to waste hours in your room staring at a screen. Even if a game is good the most i commit is 45 minutes

  28. I played Ms. PacMan when it was new and I was a little kid and I sucked at it. I played Ms. Pac-Man recently after not having plated in decades and made it to pretzel level on one quarter., I never got fanatical enough to have memorized the patterns or anything, I just did better. I've never played StarCraft II. It looks hard as hell.

  29. Personally and apart from getting old, it's two things that destroys your gaming experience:

    1) Masturbation
    2) Smoking (Vaping included)

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