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Teens

These teens were not nearly so aggrandizing as the Heathers. Or drag queens as Heathers.

Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to engage with a group of people with whom I rarely interact: teenagers. From ages twelve to seventeen. As someone who is too young to have friends with children that are teenagers, it had completely slipped my mind that there was an entire spectrum of people who rarely made an appearance in my life. To both groups I was introduced as someone who writes about games online. As I am sure would have happened when I was growing up, their ears almost instantly perked up, and conversation was had.

What I observed was fairly simple and confirmed what I, and I believe many others, think about gaming in general, and in youth. Of course, this is not a full-on study with the proper controls and such, so it should all be taken with a grain of salt. As in, this is likely not wholly representative.

First? Almost every single person gamed. Whether it was on their iPads, phones, through browsers, or what the media tends to think of as more 'traditional' gaming. Everybody, young men and women both. While some young women talked about various fashion designing games they played, I really did not see it absolutely different than the group of boys who discussed their love of Minecraft. Creating things can be a lot of fun, particularly when in the confines of a structured ruleset.

Second? For a good portion of them, motion gaming and iDevices are just not cutting it long-term, though they do enjoy gaming-on-the-go. Motion gaming has largely failed to give them the experience they desire: either a narrative or a game with a more complex set of goals and strategies. Whereas iDevices? Cited as having too few games that really engross them, instead providing more games that are played between classes for a quick distraction. I do imagine more will change in these avenues, especially as many remarked on enjoying being able to give voice commands through the Kinect.

The last observation? Kickstarter has yet to have any real appeal for them. Which is great, in many ways, as they are not yet with tons of disposable income. When discussing games that were available, they saw large success stories, and found it was largely by designers and properties that had no real sway on the games they played, or with which they grew up. Right now, at least in games, Kickstarter seems to have a real appeal to nostalgia and a desire to bring back portions of gaming we seem to have lost through either an evolution of the genre, or a fade into obscurity.

So, there you are, my non-scientific study of what I learned about teenagers. I am sure there are some of you who have more experience with them on either a weekly or daily basis (or even are teenagers yourselves, hi!), so please let me know if any of these observations seem out of place. Largely, though? Outside of the Kickstarter thing? Is it that surprising to find teenagers largely have similar opinions to everyone else playing? This is what I get for only reading about the supposed effects of gaming on them, or studies on them, rather than just talking to them. Mea culpa.

7 Comments

blackboy said:

I love the heathers photo. playing cricket, no less!

Entertaining write-up, d00d! Great cover pic too. I think the most interesting thing to note is that pretty much everybody games nowadays. As the youngsters grow older, video games will no longer be the bogeyman that is destroying our youth. Of course, then it will be some new thing that's going to kill the children, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Frankly, I love the fact that tablets and smartphones are so omnipresent that kids are free to game in school and between classes. Can't exactly ban those, can we?

Mike said:

I love that picture so hard, but good God girl, someone Photoshopped the life out of poor Manila's face!

Frank F said:

Great piece. I keep trying to explain everything you said to people but they don't seem to understand. It must be a generational thing. But yeah it always disappoints me to see schools ban technology. Especially the handheld gaming devices. I mean, they have smartphones so they'll still be playing games on those. Clearly, the barriers to playing games are disappearing. Everyone is doing it!

Frank F said:

And yeah,the Heathers photo is brilliant. It's exactly how I pictured the group: as teenagers.

Limeade said:

I definitely agree that motion-gaming is very, very flawed the way it is implemented now, imo. Maybe it still needs to evolve better integration and better interaction and better mechanics? I'll give the benefit of the doubt. But for me, I really hate motion gaming on phone/handheld/tablet devices. I'm walking, or I'm in (the passenger seat of) a car, or I'm lying down, or what have you, I can't always utilize motion controls as they are designed.

That hampers my enjoyment.

As for everything else in the article, sure, I believe it and it is something I observe in out social media and gaming worldstate. Teens are gaming on their portable devices and socializing through their portable devices. I rarely see people actually using their phones as phones, for example, as much as I see them utilized as glorified text messengers and gaming devices.

Tyler said:

Interesting article! I just wanted to add some information. I teach theater to kids age 6-13. This age bracket is a little younger than the kids you seemed to be questioning. So my contribution to this conversation is for a younger generation BUT I have noticed that although they are not playing the same iDevice games week to week, they do usually spend their time before class comparing and checking out everyone else's newest iGame download. Teenagers may not care much for this genre, but the younger my students are the smaller attention span they have. (and I really think this decrease in attention has more to do with new culture and not age). It seems to me like the iGame genre is perfect for them, and all they have time to invest in. Just like they are all sooooo excited to read the Hunger Games... even though they've been on chapter 3 for two months haha

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Tyler on Teens: Interesting article! I just wanted to add some information. I teach theater to kids age 6-13. This age bracket is...

Limeade on Teens: I definitely agree that motion-gaming is very, very flawed the way it is implemented now, imo. Maybe it still needs...

Frank F on Teens: And yeah,the Heathers photo is brilliant. It's exactly how I pictured the group: as teenagers....

Frank F on Teens: Great piece. I keep trying to explain everything you said to people but they don't seem to understand. It must...

Mike on Teens: I love that picture so hard, but good God girl, someone Photoshopped the life out of poor Manila's face!...

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