11 signs you're no longer a hard-core gamer

You used to play videogames all night. Your Quake prowess was unmatched; your skills at Command & Conquer unparalleled. You have a gaming history that stretches back beyond the PlayStation generation to the SNES, Megadrive, Amiga and ZX Spectrum. You were there at the dawn of gaming.

Tick-tock... Time passes. You've quietly come to realise that you're not the hard-core gamer you used to be. Even your Xbox 360 Gamertag seems far too 'sensible'. How do you know that a mid-life gaming crisis is setting in? Watch out for these warning signs…

You prefer playing against the computer

Online gaming against real people has become depressing – it exposes your faded, spoon-sharp reflexes and you abhor the trash-talk from 12-year old fanboys. You prefer playing offline against the computer because a game's algorithms are slightly more predictable. And, once you master the scripted patterns of play, you stand a real chance of being good… of actually winning. And that feels great, doesn't it? Ranking second-bottom on a multiplayer leader board doesn't.

You only play when your girlfriend is out

Because you only have one high-def TV and to play videogames on it while she's at home is 'selfish' and not something the two of you can do 'together'.

Assassin's Creed

You believe that winning isn't everything

It's the taking part that counts. Obviously. And that's not because you're not good at games. You are. But you've found that there's more to life than spending five hours every night killing all of the Templars in Assassin’s Creed. The fact that you can't find the last three Templars is irrelevant.

It's been days, not hours since you last switched on your console

Because things keep getting in the way: TV, movies, books, going out to restaurants, shopping, going down the pub, DIY, dinner parties, the gym, more DIY, your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend [delete as applicable]… oh, and having a job.

Old man

You’re the oldest person trading in games at GameStation

So you lie about why you’re there. "It’s, ahem, my son's birthday. I'd like to trade these in for Guitar Hero please…"

You like your Xbox 360 and your PS3 equally

Being a more 'mature' gamer means you have more disposable income, so you can afford the luxury of owning a PS3 and an Xbox 360. So you've become the gaming equivalent of the United Nations, calming accepting the virtues of both consoles to the deaf ears of Xbox zealots and Sony fanboys (who simply ignore you and carry on their slanging match regardless). Because when you stare at those side-by-side game comparison shots on CVG, you can't see the difference. Maybe the PS3 palette is lighter… maybe… Of course, your eyesight could be failing…

Sensible Soccer

You fondly remember a ‘golden age’ of gaming

You lament the current glut of videogame sequels and often talk fondly of an innovative 'golden age' of gaming. You remember Manic Miner, good ‘ol Chuckie Egg and the Ultimate games on the ZX Spectrum. You played Sensible Soccer the first time around on the Amiga, Elite on your mate’s BBC B, and finished Sonic The Hedgehog on the Megadrive. Happy days… But when modernised versions of these gaming classics turn up on Xbox Live, your excitement quickly evaporates. You quickly realise that, by today’s standards, those cherished oldies are now shallow, repetitive and not much fun.

You avoid playing on the Wii because it’s too much effort

There's no denying that the Nintendo Wii is a revolutionary games machine but… well, it does require a lot of effort. Aren't there times when you just want to slouch into a comfy sofa with a traditional joypad? Times when you can't be arsed with all that wiimote waving and waggling? It's way too energetic – a 20 minute bowling session in Wii Sports is almost akin to a full workout.

Call of Duty 4

Your FPS experience consists of spawn, run, die... spawn, run, die... spawn…

The reflexes that served you so well in GoldenEye and Quake seem to be two seconds slower than everybody else these days. You think 'fire', 'jump', 'spin', 'run', 'collect spinny power-up', but your fingers press 'fire' (and pause), 'fire' (and pause), 'spin' and… no, I actually meant 'jump', and – oh, I’m dead. Either you're slowing down, or today's hard-core gamerati are faster than you ever were.

You find the idea of videogames based on board games perfectly acceptable

Anyone for a game of Carcassonne tonight? The wife's out until 10pm and I'll be online after I've had my dinner…


You've pre-ordered GTA IV but don't mind if it doesn't turn up on launch day

Wednesday's just fine. Really. You're a bit busy at the moment, anyway. In fact, you probably won't get a chance to play GTA IV until the weekend. You're also not bothered by the prospect of downloading the DLC for GTA IV either. You'll never finish the main game anyway.