Commentary

Video games: New stats and old classics

I love a good story. And I love a good video game. The Entertainment Software Association recently released its 2010
Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry
, which shows some surprising statistics:

• The average gamer is 34 years old and has been playing for 12 years.

• Forty percent of all players are women and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry's fastest growing demographics. Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (33 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (20 percent).

• Twenty-six percent of game players are over the age of 50, an increase from nine percent in 1999. This figure is sure to rise in coming years with nursing homes and senior centers across the nation now incorporating video games into their activities.

• Sixty-seven percent of homes in America own either a console and/or PC used to run entertainment software.

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• Fifty-eight percent of online game players are male and 42 percent are female. Forty-two percent of heads of households report they play games on wireless devices such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20% in 2002.

• Ninety-three percent of the time, parents are present at the time games are purchased or rented. Seventy-six percent of parents believe that the parental controls available in all new video game consoles are useful. In addition, 64 percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives.

Cool stuff. I’m personally glad to see more women exploring video games.

On another personal note, I’d like to share my top five favorite games:

GoldenEye 007
GoldenEye 007. The best first-person shooter multiplayer game I’ve ever played. Being a girl with brothers, I never got into the solo play, but I still liked to watch. When they did get me to play multiplayer, they slaughtered me with rocket launchers and the dreaded RCP-390. Still, it was always fun. The paintball and DK modes were an extra perk.

The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This PlayStation 2 game is one my little brother and I bonded over. We loved playing as men and hobbits and wizards and swinging swords around. The co-op feature is awesome. I wish more games had co-op like this.

Mario Kart
Mario Kart 64. Who doesn’t like Mario Kart? Send turtle shells after your friends, grab mushrooms for extra speed and zoom across the finish line in victory. It’s always fun for groups of people, and it still offers a challenge for just one or two players.

Harvest Moon 64
Harvest Moon 64. This game got me into video games in the first place. It’s so simple, yet so addicting – you didn’t know you could spend four hours harvesting crops, foraging for herbs and trying to woo the girl of your dreams, but you can, and you will. Sounds a little like Farmville....

Twilight Princess
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This game is phenomenal. Sadly, I just hopped on the Zelda train about three years ago, and it was with this game. I’ve since gotten into some of the older Zelda games, but Twilight Princess remains my favorite. The story is truly creative, the gameplay is not too hard (good for me) and the graphics are beautiful. And let’s face it – if Link were a real person, I’d be in love with him.

Yeah. I know I have three Nintendo 64 games on there. Hey, it’s what I grew up with, and those classics are what I like. Newer games that capture the great storytelling and simple gameplay of these older games are what I’ll get into.

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