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

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

  1. Anecdotal I know, but serious gaming the last 40 years has shown me a gradual decline in my abilities. So now I focus more heavily on being smart and calm.

  2. This is for top competetive games and tournaments. No matter how old or good you are, as long as you get statisfaction from it, you are good to go. I was never a great competitor before hitting 23 and I'm not much better now. I play for the stories, for the community, for the 3 hours I can be Bayek, the founder of the assassin's brotherhood and not just a regulat Joe.

    So keep playing whats you like, as you like no matter how old you get.

  3. Harder to focus when I'm tired (or stoned) but I still play around 20+ hours per week, even working full time and doing all the things that are life at 65. It all depends on the person many times, but I am definitely slower in hand to eye coordination and reaction time, but I still love my PC games!

  4. My dad is in his mid 50's and plays a lot if first person shooters and the old Fallout games. He used to play sides scrollers and other games when they were popular.

  5. I'm 20 .I used to enjoy video games but now I barely see videos about them. yah I removed them from my life and I feel better

  6. I won a starcraft Game vs the european best player. He won the title 3 times.
    He played vs me…a guy who never played it before. I won. I get paid for playing World of warcraft. Macro isnt new to me but starcraft was.

  7. I played CS when I was 20. Now at 40 I play Apex Legends. Me 20 years ago definitely different from now. My reaction, reflex, movement, is slower. Yes I'm old but I'm having fun playing the game. With today technology, internet speed, streaming, etc, I see young people today are too serious when playing games. They want to become famous like Shroud, Dizzy or become pro player. Me? Nah I'm old I just want to have fun. If I'm tired playing FPS, I play RPG.

  8. Maybe this is why I play more turn based and solo games as I got older. Just means you like a different kind of game. 'Starcraft' doesn't represent some standard kind of game, in fact it's totally insane doing 10 actions per second when you're trying to wind down after work/study.

  9. I've decided that if I'm going to put THAT much work into getting good it something, it sure as hell isn't going to be videogames.

  10. I've been gaming before my pre-teens & never stopped, even at 46yrs old today. It's just a matter of doing it every chance & having the time of your life, so live it up😉.

  11. factors:
    +older people are introduced to the internet later in their life
    +older people don't have that much time as younger people have
    +older people drink more than younger people
    +it's too early in the development of games to tell if age really effects your gaming skills
    +deez nuts

  12. Lol I'm 25, and I still whomp my opponents. Unless I'm just messing around. That's fun as well. It's all about what is entertaining at the moment. Edit. Actually even then I almost always come out on top. But the previous statement stands true.

  13. I'm 29 and I use to play competitive games a lot as a teen but now I'm more interested in a story driven game.

  14. The videos from this channel are usually top quality content, but this one was more like a StarCraft sponsorship. Oh well, bad video, the science in here was the bare minimum.

  15. I'm 36 and I don't play fps anymore.. When I was in college I'm a killer on counter strike 1.6.. You lose interest overtime.. But i still play strategy games like divinity and sports games like nba 2k 🙂

  16. I think it's also a question of growing up. The older we get, the more we realise actions have consequences. We react slowlier because we are afraid of the possible outcome.
    Games are games, we know it's not real, but part of the mindset comes from there, from the "careful what you do, lest you have to pay for it".
    Later on, the think before you act becomes such an habit that we actually become slow.
    This is probably why it is best to learn to play a instrument or to learn a language or to learn a sport when you're young: your mind has fewer self-imposed double-checks.

    Or I am entirely wrong and scientists are laughing at my comment.

  17. A: Probably, yes.
    B: Real Life is a MMORPG video game.
    C. I don't play video games. I AM video games.

  18. High level competitive fortnite is VERY impressive from a cognitive perspective. Check it out, make sure it is recent (last couple of weeks) and you will be amazed by the reaction times and speed of some of the pros, trust me!

  19. APM is mostly dexterity based, which can be maintained from my experience. The load-in for maps aspect that you mentioned is just reaction time, which I'm pretty sure get's slower as you progress in age. Reaction time isn't all too important in in games like Star Craft, but even in games which rely on extremely fast reaction times(CSGO, for example), the difference is negligible unless you're in the higher tiers. Unless you're holding too tight of angles, or don't adjust your crosshair placement to match.

  20. I noticed that the older I got videogames started to feel more tedious and chore like am I the only one that feels this way?

  21. Long story short. Brains are over the hill, competitive gaming was in its infancy when we started getting good, only fuckers like Fatality made it because of skill. These days its all about who has the most rebust and click baity personality.

  22. I've played video games since I was 4 (1988). It will be a sad day when I'm too old for gaming. Although I haven't played like fast-paced RTS or shooters in ages. I'm more like a strategy gamer. Or a city builder.

  23. i'm 29 years old, after i stopped playing on my PS4 for almost two years, now I play PS1 games on my old PS Vita before bed.

  24. He proved nothing… he said because older people got slower they cant be as good… but that doesnt mean their not slower bc they dont play as much and have tons if stuff on their mind. There was no science here.. only a hypothesis.

  25. I'm good, video games aren't a competition for me. I'm more into the world building and immersion. 10 moves per second? Go ahead young bucks, go get it!

  26. Once a gamer, always a gamer. A gamer never stops playing at no matter what age their in. By continuing playing video games you have faster reflexes, think faster, move faster and are able to solve the impossible tasks in real life. I’ve been a gamer for 46 years now and have no plans on ever stopping. True video game players do not know the meaning of game over.

  27. My brain became too old for video games, the moment DLCs, micro-transactions, loot boxes, and 'season passes' reared their ugly heads.

  28. We are not "gamers", we are free people caught in a rat cage and "gaming" is for our generation what cheese is for mice.

  29. I think youtube is the reason why i dont play video games like i us to any more cause youtube has made my life easy to watch then to play and also games do seam like there not getting better to me

  30. sitting here enjoying 'iys okay to be smart" was not ready for that clap in the feels when TotalBiscuit popped up, Rest in Peace you cynical angel.

  31. Welp explain why Super street fighter turbo players are all 30 and over and could react like crazy. That game is a faster than any game we have out today.

  32. Devs have just started pandering to the lowest common denomination of the game community. Just cash grabs and and BS that would only appeal to younger demographics – the Co op casuals. I think the question should be, are the games old enough for us?

  33. People in their 30's generally are married and with kids and commitments. Less time to play means they aren't as sharp as they can or used to be. Guys still in school/college have less burdens can dedicate more time to build and reinforce those cognitive networks in the brain.

  34. How does the ability to adapt to a new control scheme play into this? Given time, I can figure out the control schemes for most platformers, but heaven forbid I try to figure out an FPS. Maybe it's just that FPS games, especially online ones, tend to be more punishing to players who don't quickly grasp the controls, so I rage quit before I give myself enough time to figure it out. Or it could just be that I'm more used to platformers. Is it all a matter of what you play when you're young, or is it possible to become equally good in games with different control schemes with enough practice?

  35. If the average gamer is 35 years old and is the average American is 35 years old then that means the average American plays video games

  36. I mainly just like games for their aesthetic quality. The only game I can play these days is LOL, just because it's like completing a full game in less than an hour. You win the game or you lose the game.
    I like real life games too. But in general I can't get into single player games AT ALL. So boring because I've just done it all before and would rather progress the story of my real life.

  37. I prefer playing with my smartphone over gaming. Youtube, checking stocks and finance websites, it's taken away alot of my desire to game.

  38. Actually, (and yes I KNOW this video is old, but I hope you can still answer it,) is WHY? WHY do so many grown adults play video games? What is the point? Is it something I am not getting? Have I lost my ability to fantasize anymore? That's the reason I don't watch films. When it get to a part where a lot of people may shout at the screen, "Don't go in there it's a trap!," I would say, "Course they know it's a trap, they have read the script too. Don't be so stupid!" and get kicked out. I cannot take anything that fantasy and put it in reality. I hate fantasy. It's for children in my mind. Not so-called intelligent adults. But, can I turn around at 49? Can I get my inner child back? Funny, after watching this entire video mad me wonder even more why adults play these silly games?

  39. Me and my brother who are best friends hate the games that each other play he plays fortnight which I think is terrible because it is he hates Minecraft which is a good game. Ew. People would assume that I am them teenager and he’s the kid but now we’re both kids…. I even stopped watching my favorite YouTuber because she played fortnight. It’s that gross eek 😬.🔫👎🏻💎🔨👍🏿

  40. Hyper vigilance does make it easier to spam the keyboard. Maybe it's just as people become adults and actually have money. They are more secure and less hyper vigilant. But without that, you would suck if a war ever broke out and should just accept the fact you're basically Jerry from Rick and Morty now. Ya lost "it" mr or mrs laser disc vhs old school.

  41. Older generation have an abundance of games. Young people can specify games that are new and modern. Hence why they're so damn good.

  42. I'm 23. Still kinda young but i sucked at games. Fps are the worse but I'm no better in strategy too. Maybe some people just destined to be sucks at gaming. I always have 100% focus on the game but i still sucks. Nowadays it's better, i could be an ace sometimes but in the past i rarely win.

  43. most of younger kids are on adhd meds that pump up the brain after i got off my meds my game performance went down dramatically

  44. I've noticed since I got into my 30s that video games don't come as easy to me anymore. I don''t know if it's because games are more complicated now than when I was a kid, but I just don't seem to learn to play them as fast or easily as I used to be, even in my 20s. I just got a switch a few weeks ago with Breath of the Wild, and it took me 2 or 3 weeks to master the controls well enough that I wasn't accidentally pressing the wrong button when I meant to do something else. Although I've noticed controls for a lot of games on the Switch are just awful. I'm not a fan of the Joy Cons at all. They're so tiny, and they don't have a real D pad.

  45. So, I'm 31 and I can honestly agree with the guest talking about other things on your mind. When I was in my teens, I could game all day and night without a care in the world. Now, I have to adult, Work, Relationship, Taking Care Of My Body, Bills, Bills, Bills. Real life just simply takes up too much time, and when I do find time to game I'm wondering if I remembered to pre-set my coffee maker and pack my gym bag the night before.

  46. This is absolutely inacurate because you are presenting the topic as an example through a certain gaming genre. It is most certainly true due to the huge amount of ms dexterity you would have to perform in a short period of time in a moba or a strategy game… gee wonder why those genres are the "kid games" yet you are neglecting the other kind of brain functions responsible for other genres of gaming. I am 28 myself and when i am in a calm, concentrated state, i notice a clean improvement to my 20 yo self in gaming (granted i don't play any other online games but mmos) in reaction time, managing my resources and aiming way better. I could challenge any player to beat my speedrun record on oldschool fps games that required actual moment to moment decision making like Halo CE, or survival horror speedruns that require a lot of precision to done well. Also the w1st speedrunners for oldschool games and who understand and play them better are not the early 20s, they (generally) suck at anything but one or two game they dedicate their time into and develop their skills into the rhythm of the genre and the product. Give a typical early 20 a game like jedi knight 2 outcast on master or far cry realistic to complete it and i guarantee he / she won't be able to, yet a lot of oldschool players can blaze through them. The market is appointed to a completely new audience that is only interested to be dedicated in 3 games IF that and they are strictly multiplayer focused titles.

  47. Here's my theory:

    Us who are between 25-40, went true all the hard games and developed trueout the years, and we had to do all the work, for example (world of warcraft) we have people who do tutorials and complete everything, now these young people come into the picture…they dont have to spend their time trying to figure out how to defeat bosses or complete the end game quest, because they been seeing all of the work we did before them therefor they learn faster.

  48. 34 almost 35 I smash kids online all the time 🤣🤣 gaming for life … remember back in the day before youtube u had to buy a game guide or figure it out yourself or ask a buddy.

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