Nowadays there is a real cult of the youth. Advertisement makes us believe we should look young forever and could if we used their products. The star system goes in the same direction with ever younger singers, actors and other "young talents". It is commonly believed that we are in our top years when we are in our twenties and that it is at this moment that we build our life (getting out of school, getting a career, car, house, kids, boat, lodge, and blah blah blah...). By our thirties all we are supposed to do is work and enjoy these things until we retire. And then we just enjoy these things.
Young, young, young. What a boring song.
All of this is just bullshit. "Young" (as in 24 and under) is just a tiny part of our life.
What happens after that? Everything. I'm in my late twenties and I feel I really just started to live. I feel I really just got to a level of confidence and got enough knowledge to really do something with the rest of my life. How could I have done everything already?
I recently read a book about "simple living lifestyle". The author (Dominique Loreau, a french writer) made a point that shattered several constructed beliefs well anchored in my mind: she says it's by the age of 45-50 that there is a real change in a person (a big part of it due to the freedom we get back when kids go away from home). At that age, she says, we are at about half of our living years.
Wait.. what? At 50 I'll still have a few decades for doing... well... whatever I want? Gee! Common beliefs are that by 60-65 we should just retire and enjoy ourselves, waiting to die, basically. This doesn't have to be like that!
I'm almost thirty now. I'm unemployed. I have a kid. I work for myself making video games. I make a living out of that working 20 or 30 hours a week. I live frugally but I live well. I'm not depriving myself of anything (I'm just not buying all the shits advertisements tell me to). Will I still make video games for myself in thirty years from now? I don't know. Probably not. Maybe. It doesn't matter.
What matters is that I'm almost thirty and I'm still young. Very young. I have time. I can change my life around whenever I need to, whenever it makes sense to. YOU are still young, even if you are older than me. What matters is to do what we want, to do what we believe is right for us, not what society and culture tells us to. The important peoples, the ones changing the world around are not in their twenties (well, there is rare exceptions). Peoples making changes are old, have experience, have explored a field of knowledge, master their craft, made errors in the past and have enough wisdom now to create meaningful things.
This is why Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his researches for his book Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention only interviewed people over the age of 60 in different fields of knowledge. The only well known video game designer I can think of that is that old is Tōru Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man (he turned 60 this year). Even Shigeru Miyamoto is not that old.
What does it say about video games (because it is a video game blog after all!)? Video games has just been created, there haven't been no real changes made since it's birth. Forget about processing power, fancy 3D graphics, motion controls, and next-gen hypes. Those are all fancy gadgets with which we do the same games over and over. I tell you again what I believe with all my heart: there has been NO real change in the face of video games since it's birth.
What does it say about us video game designers and designers wannabe? Everything is yet to be done. The potential of games is yet to be revealed and it is not by reveling in technology and gadgets that it will be unlocked. I do not pretend to know how to do it but maybe, and just maybe, I'll be able to put my share in unlocking this potential after I've acquired enough knowledge, in thirty years or so.
Because I'm still young. And you are too.