End of an Era: I'm too old for gaming

Over the last few weeks, a bitter realization has set in: I simply can't play videogames requiring fast reactions any more. My eyes and brain have betrayed me, and I can no longer answer the call of duty, although after that stinker that was "Call of Duty: Ghosts," I'm sort-of ok with that.

My video card is certainly fast enough to give smooth-as-glass frame rates, and I have a large, low latency monitor. I certainly can't blame the hardware. The fact was I was slowing down, screwing up fights that I would have torn through 10 years ago and in between each round I was rubbing my eyes in increasing pain.

It's not just first-person shooters. EverQuest, a game I stuck with for far too long when I should have quit, is just unplayable. In the case of EQ, Sony put in a stupid feature when you are in combat to make you feel like you're swinging a sword, so the whole screen jerks around. After a half hour I would literally be in pain and if I got up from the chair, I'd end up leaning against the wall for several seconds, trying not to fall over. I never had this problem in World of Warcraft because they didn't use that stupid jerky screen trick; problem was I just didn't like WoW.

The funny part is my eyeglass prescription has barely changed in the last 15 years. I'm still blind as a bat like in my 20s but it's not worsening, other than a little presbyopia. A set of computer glasses fixed that issue. The problem is just plain age. Researchers from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia have come to the conclusion that your cognitive motor peak is 24 years of age. After that it's all downhill.

They made this discovery studying StarCraft 2 players. That would explain why most of the professional StarCraft 2 players are all teenagers or college age. It's rare to find a professional player (man that term seems odd) over the age of 25.

It would also explain why I can't get out Bronze league, the lowest level of the game.

I won't tell you my age, only that I learned the Internet on a mainframe and still remember what a "bang address" is. Retirement certainly isn't on the horizon. Neither is a game "Call of Duty" deathmatch. I tried once a few weeks back and was cannon fodder.

It's a little disturbing to see reflexes go like that. Not just because I can't game anymore, but I need these fast reactions. There are a lot of idiots on the road in southern California too busy texting to pay attention or talking to their therapist or whatever, anything but not paying attention to the road.

So these days, it's "Candy Crush Saga" and "Megapolis" on the iPad. At least I can play them for 20 minutes and not rub my eyes in pain.

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