I came across an interesting article by Gus Mastrapa, headed: "21st-Century Shooters Are No Country for Old Men" today. It got me thinking (breaking the trend) about the advancement of "skill" through generations.
The argument the article poses is that the younger generation are becoming so adept at playing video games that they have already overtaken the progress of older gamers (even those with many more years of experience).
It's a fascinating concept to be able to see changes so rapid, but also because a high amount of skill in such games (typically shooters) requires faster reactions, sharper visual perception and precise control of the input device (such as a mouse, keyboard, gamepad etc). If these skills are developing and even out-performing the skill level of an older, more experienced player, then at what point will the improvements peak? Have we yet reached that point? Will everybody see the day where they get beaten by a squeaky-voiced, obnoxious 10 year old?
Is it only shooters that the theory applies to? They would appear the require the highest amount of technical skill, with puzzle or strategy games often claiming the prize for working the brain the most. Is it the skills used in this Genre that are able to develop earlier perhaps? Or, as I may suggest, is it down to practice? The "younger generation" undoubtedly have more time to spend playing the games than the typical older gamer.
Another interesting idea is the inclusion of new concepts. When a genuinely game-changing concept is introduced (vastly altering how a game is played), is the skill difference between generations reset? I would say that while the idea is new and unfamiliar, the ground is level. This would eventually change however, as the younger generation has more time to practice and experiment with the concept. And soon the kids will be annoying the adults once more, thus is the circle of life.
Kids: Enjoy it while it lasts, it won't be long until you get beaten by somebody a decade younger than you.
Gus Mastrapa's Article