It's one of the biggest changes I've witnessed over the course of my years writing about games, and the primary reason that Digitiser The Show chose to focus mostly on old games, mainly from the era that I was writing Digitiser for Teletext.
It's not so much about nostalgia as being practical. I can do old games, and talk about them with a degree of confidence that I know what I'm saying. I often worry when I touch on newer stuff - especially the sort of games which come laden with a passionate fanbase - that I'm going to put my foot in it. And by "it" I mean a deep trough of nerd effluence.
Part of the challenge of writing about games these days, and keeping a handle on developments across the industry, is the size of games. I'm not just talking about the literal size of them - the big open worlds of Far Cry and the like - but the way in which the fanbase will build upon them, these communities springing up around the outskirts like shanty towns.
Back in the day, I could be confident of my opinion on something like, say, Sonic & Knuckles after three or four hours of play. I'd get that done, move onto Cannon Fodder, for example, then clock that in a few more hours. Games - and being a games journalist - was manageable.
Now, I don't have a clue about half the things I read, and need to take two weeks off work to review something.
I went to download Warframe for my Switch the other night, then thought I should probably look it up online first, and discovered that the game is utterly bewildering to newcomers, and there are pages upon pages of lore, and rules, and tips online. Apparently, you only really start to "get" the game after tens of hours of play.
Consequently, that put me right off, and I went back to playing New Super Mario Bros. U instead.
I don't have a clue what DOTA 2 is, but apparently that's the game all the e-sports people play. I tried Fortnite and found the whole experience frustrating and dull. I've dabbled in Minecraft, but didn't really get the appeal, so instead went online to marvel at other people's epic creations. Many modern games develop these communities around them - villages springing up around a water source - and they're not always welcoming to outsiders.
By all accounts, the Warframe community is friendly enough - unlike some - but it seems doubtful now that I'm ever going to bother learning their social cues and bylaws.
Nonetheless, there is a part of me which feels I'm missing out. I've written at length about how I've tried to get into Dark Souls, but I've reached a point where I'm accepting that it isn't for me. It's like... I've got friends who really enjoy Muse. The band is often labelled as prog - a genre of music that I loathe as much as I love, admittedly, but one which I'd still class myself a fan of - so I kind of feel like I should like them.
Yet every time I listen to their musicI think they're awful. And that's okay; just because I think Muse are awful it doesn't mean that everyone does.
It'd be easy to dismiss this as an age thing, but it's more broad than that. I reckon I'd have been as lost and overwhelmed by the breadth and diversity of gaming - as it now is - at whatever age I may have been. It seems that there's a fragmentation among the gaming community; once upon a time, everybody would rush out to buy the same big game on the day of release, but now many of us are content to stay within the communities around our chosen games. It's no longer a single collective.
I spent so much time on Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey last year that I never even really got around to playing much else. My copy of whatever the most recent Call of Duty is called still remains in its shrink-wrap.
I feel compelled to make a judgement on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I lean towards it just being a thing. I mean, when it comes to music there's rarely much crossover between, say, the Ariana Grande fans and the Dream Theatre fans. Yeah, we can all be cool and disparaging about pop music - in the way that many of us look down our noses at Fortnite - but it's still music, and it still has worth, and loads of people love it. Mainly young people, for sure, but they're still people, probably.
I think that's how I choose to look at games now. I'm not worried that I'm missing out on DOTA 2, whatever it might be. It doesn't bother me that I never got around to the latest Monster Hunter or Final Fantasy. Just as I couldn't possibly - or even want to - listen to every album and single that is released in a given year, as gaming has evolved it has become unrealistic to expect any of us to have a forensic knowledge of every dank corner of it.
Fortnite might be the pop music of gaming, but that's okay. There's still room for other genres; prog (The Witcher III), and indie (Undertale), and alt.country (Red Dead Redemption 2), and metal (Dark Souls), and 80s reunion tours (Super Smash Bros.), and... Vangelis (Assassin's Creed Odyssey).