heihachi_farsighted.jpg At 37, writer and gamer Gus Mastrapa is not old. Still, he writes, he's beginning to feel his age: he's particularly overwhelmed by all the young'uns playing MAG, the new online FPS that supports up to 256 multiplayers at once. How can an old man keep up with so many spry young upstarts?

In his GameLife article, 21st-Century Shooters Are No Country for Old Men, Mastrapa writes,

Everybody in the bar agrees: Young gamers are somehow better than older gamers. Is it because they have fewer responsibilities and more free time? Or is it their youth that keeps them sharp?

And what the hell can us old-timers, with one foot in our gamer graves, do about it?

At 27 -- maybe because I'm expected to freak out about this sort of thing ten years earlier than you fellows are -- I am terrified of aging. And I am aging. I've started applying eye cream at morning and night, and when I sit down to play a video game, I feel old. And childless. And I know I am losing my touch, that I can't quite make my way up the Xbox Live leaderboards, and that I am turning into a cat lady. I worry a lot about whether I am wasting time.

I'm not alone. Last May, Andrew Fitch took several paragraphs to lament his "old-man hands":

Even though my mind knows that Von Kaiser goes into a slight pause before rearing back to deliver a punishing uppercut, my hands don't process this information in time -- and I get a series of terrifying Teutonic fists to the face as a result. I sorta feel like that wily thirtysomething southpaw who's lost his fastball.

And just last month, Stephen Totilo wrote a column about his Mario fixation, which is as much about nostalgia as it is about age-panic, and yet that pressing worry lingers:

But as I played Bowser's Inside Story, there was that reaction again: Maybe I'm too old for this.

I am having trouble adding any real thoughts of my own before the deadline, so in my desperation, I just typed "gamers scared of getting old" into Google. That search term yielded a popular John Mayer song lyric ("So scared of getting older / I'm only good at being young") and, inexplicably, this photo of a statue of Heihachi, the elderly badass from the Tekken series, wearing reading spectacles.

The song lyric made me feel really sad. The photograph made me feel better.

[21st-Century Shooters Are No Country for Old Men]