Everyone is nostalgic for the games we played as a kid. They’re usually the first instances of us learning the meaning of escapism, of excitement, of the ‘unputdownable’ experience. However, as we get older and our tastes mature, these games tend to lose their appeal. We no longer get the same kick out of them we used to, even with our rose-tinted glasses on. So, what then? Do adults simply stop gaming?
Well, obviously not. We move onto other things, different content and genres which are tailored to our new interests and levels of maturity. But what exactly? Well, we’re going to be exploring the answer to this question by looking at the genres of games that adults typically gravitate towards. Read on to see if your favourites are included in our list.
Dark fantasy is the natural progression from the fantasy games we loved as a kid. It’s almost representative of our loss of innocence. As our world view becomes more jaded and cynical with adulthood, so do the fantasy games we turn to. Mermaids are no longer beautiful and romantic but talon-tipped and blood-thirsty; the soft rainbows and bright colours are replaced with dark clouds and gritty tones. You can see this exemplified in franchises like the Witcher and Hellblade, which are drenched in darkness and foreboding. That isn’t to say these games are joyless. On the contrary, dark fantasy is appealing because it gives us the chance to symbolically slay our own demons alongside the ones in the game.
To swing the pendulum in a different direction, online casinos are another popular form of gaming among adults. From sports betting to slot machines, players across the world enjoy iGaming. Some do so because they want to transition from virtual to real-life stakes while others simply enjoy the community element involved and wouldn’t mind a little cash on the side. After all, online casinos are the way to possibly change in-game rewards into actual money, especially when paired with a non-sticky bonus. Of course, this type of gaming does have its hazards, hence why government regulations are in place and only the 18+ can play.
No matter how old you are, you never lose that same desire for adventure, which is why this genre has been an enduring classic for gamers. Once again, action-adventure games for adults are grittier than most. The graphics tend to be grounded in reality with rugged visuals and muted tones, while their storylines and themes are darker. For instance, the Red Dead Redemption franchise revolves around gang wars in a fictionalised version of Western America, where codes of honour are the deciding factor in who lives and who dies. As we mature, we need these higher stakes in games to get the same level of excitement as we did before. The ambience of these games is also key to their success. The more immersed the players are, the more thrilled they feel when the action comes to head.
Horror games are reserved for mature audiences only. Despite fear being regarded as a wholly negative emotion, this genre has a dark allure that no others seem to hold, making them quite the topic of conversion in psychology. It’s been cited that adults find catharsis in horror, relieving themselves of their anxieties about daily life by projecting them into the game. This is potentially why people feel attracted to them. There’s also something to be said about the mystery of and within horror which touches the soul.
These games tend to be paired with storyline cloaked in ambiguity, tying into our fear of the unknown. We feel compelled to power through the game in pursuit of answers, so we can resolve our feelings of uneasiness around the not-knowing. However, horror games never give us such relief. Instead, they prefer to harrow us with warped monsters from another dimension or question our sanity as we play from a first-person perspective. Did we really see that flicker in the corner of the screen? Why are we so scared of an empty room? No one knows. It’s pretty impressive how these games are able to manipulate our psychology, making them a favourite among adult players.
These are our top picks for gaming genres which are aimed at mature audiences. So, think about what you’re looking for when you next pick up a game. Is it escapism and excitement, or catharsis from the troubles of your real life?