I turn 48 this year. There are days when that figure alarms me; I was 21 when Digitiser launched 26 years ago. It feels like a long time ago, but also yesterday. Yet in another 26 years I'm going to turn 74. If I think about that too much, then I feel a sense of time running out.
I think I got my mid-life crises out of the way a long time back, but part of the fear of getting old is that I've only relatively recently gotten my life where I want it, and I want to ensure I'm going to be able to enjoy it as long as possible.
Yeah, I know I should exercise more - though the demands of life and work seem to leave little time or energy for that. But there are also things happening with my body which no amount of exercise can hold back; it takes me about an hour every day until my joints ease up, I've got arthritic toes, my eyesight has gone - almost overnight - from being shortsighted to longsighted.
On the rare occasions I booze it up it takes three days to recover. I like being in bed most nights by half-eight. My guts aren't what they were...
And I know this is only the start of a gradual downward slide. If you take the physical stuff out of the equation, though, I've never been in ruder health, never felt more "me". And part of being me is liking video games.
The sad reality is, however, that because of my age, there are those who feel I shouldn't like video games...
I've seen a few things recently regarding ageism towards gamers. Certainly, it sometimes feels that the marketing for games isn't skewed towards my generation, and that we're not entirely welcome.
Often I roll my eyes at its attempts to be edgy and dangerous, and that's because - thanks to years of experience - I can see through it. I don't fall for it. Mostly, I know what I like, and no amount of hard rock music on a YouTube ad is going to convince me otherwise.
There's a reason why younger people are generally the ones targeted by games publishers; they've often got a larger disposable income and the time to make playing games their main focus. I admit I don't play games as frequently as I used to, but that doesn't make them any less a part of who I am, and what I enjoy.
The irony is, here I am a proud older person who plays video games, when part of the reason I stopped working for Teletext all those years ago is that I felt too old to be writing about games. I'd go to game launches - which themselves were becoming less enjoyable, because I'd rather have been at home - and I'd frequently be the oldest journalist there. I felt self-conscious, like it was an undignified job for a 32 year-old man.
But games are just a part of what I am and what I like, and mostly always have been.
Often I get the sense that younger gamers - the ones who you might find trolling online, that whole "git gud" nonsense - have nothing else going on in their lives. It's the entirety of their culture, and I recently read an article which suggested that we instinctively dehumanise those who aren't part of our community. Certainly, that would explain a lot of online conflict and abuse.
But also, that seems pretty pathetic and desperate to me to if you're going to lash out at those who have a more rounded life, just because they don't spend 18 hours of every day on PUBG.
Who's the real loser there?
THE SCENE THAT CELEBRATES ITSELF
Of course, what we didn't have back in 2003, when I left Digi, was the healthy retro gaming scene that we do now.
Mine is the first generation to really embrace retro gaming. Which, I suppose, means that Mr Biffo can have a presence and a purpose again (even if there is a little voice niggling at the back of my brain asking whether I'll at some point once again feel too old and undignified to continue).
Nonetheless, even in the retro scene I'm at the upper end of the age bracket; I was aware of being the oldest person on the set of Digitiser The Show; Octav1us - who, absurdly, has herself been hit with ageist claims that she's too old to be doing what she's doing - is only a couple of years older than my eldest daughter.
I, and none of my other hosts, were pretending to be younger than we were, yet there were still some of the usual online grumblers claiming that we were trying too hard to be down with the kids.
Trust me, I have no desire to be down with any kids, because - as mentioned - it'd take me the best part of a week to get over it.
Ageism is a recognised problem in the games industry. A 2016 survey showed that only 3.5% of games industry employees were over the age of 50.
Where do they all go once they reach 50? I don't believe they suddenly lose interest in games, and make a career left-turn. Often, when a games company is having to let people go, it's the older ones who are laid off first.
There are financial reasons for that, of course; older workers are generally more expensive, and it's more beneficial to the bottom line to hire employee younger, cheaper, people. They might generally also be more able to work longer hours, due to a lack of responsibilities at home.
In a 2014 survey, ageism was cited as the most common form of discrimination in the industry after (no surprises here) sexism. And this is despite the decades of potential experience an older worker can bring to a project; assumptions that grey hair makes you look tired, that age-worn confidence in your abilities can make you appear arrogant... it's basic prejudice, which is defined as a preconceived notion.
Speaking for myself, I know I'm better at what I do than I've ever been, and way more productive than I ever was. And I do a job where I don't need to be climbing up trees or operating heavy machinery.
Sadly, it's not just older industry professionals who are made to feel past-it. I recently found a Reddit thread on the issue of gamer ages, and there were 35 year-olds calling themselves "old", and a Destructoid article where the writer discussed the struggles of being an "older gamer".
He was 33. What does that make me?
If you've played games your entire life - as most of you reading this will have done - I don't believe you reach a point where you suddenly lose all interest in them. Your tastes might change, you might have to adapt to fit gaming around new responsibilities, but does anybody just go off them?
Playing games isn't something which have to end with aching joints and middle-age spread; it can continue indefinitely. And as the kids grow up and leave home, you're going to have to more time to play them.
For me, being "too old" to play games is all in the mind. It's listening to the prejudice and not to what you want to do. Something like 20% of gamers are over 50, and that's a lot of potential business for games companies. We are in uncharted territory - this first generation to really grow up playing games - and I feel a certain responsibility to prove that, just as with music and books and movies, gaming doesn't have to ever stop.
The Who are still touring, on and off. Paul McCartney released a new album last year at the age of 76. 72 year-old Cher is putting out two this year. James Cameron is still making movies at 64, and 71 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is starring in a new Terminator this summer. Do you think any of the audiences for those things are worrying they're too old to be watching a new Terminator movie, or buying tickets to The Who?
Why are games different? Why should anybody be considered too old to be a gamer, or a YouTuber, or a programmer?