Part of the reason I stopped doing Digitiser, back in the year 2003BC, is that it felt like I was starting to outstay my welcome.
I'd worked for Teletext - in-house for the first four or so years, and then from home as a lazy pig of a freelancer - for over 10 years. That was a long time to stay in any job. Plus, towards the end of Digi, my TV work was starting to pick up - just enough to take the erotic leap into the murk, and think I stood some chance of landing on solid ground. It was a gamble, but I got lucky. I suppose.
Behind that, though, there was a feeling that I was getting too old and whiffy for games journalism. I'd started to see others, who'd been my peers during the 90s, fall away, or move onto other roles - maybe in PR, maybe in development, or outside the industry altogether. I was only 31, but already I was starting to feel like a veteran.
Video games writing, I convinced myself, was a job for bouncing foetuses, not withered husks. Writing about games was beginning to feel undignified, and I wanted to leave the party and get a "proper" job, before somebody told me that my desperate dad dancing was putting the younger, more beautiful, people off their chicken satay sticks.
The GamesIndustry.biz article states that 26% of gamers are over 50, but only 1% of people working in development are in this bracket. That's a pretty shocking figure, whatever age you are. As the piece says, it's ignoring a huge chunk of a workforce that has a ton of worldliness and skill slipped beneath its cummerbund.
From my experience, this ageism - if that's what it is - isn't unique to gaming. It's a problem (which I completely object to, of course) that seems endemic in any creative industry. Whether it's about salaries becoming too high, a perceived lack of energy reserves in anyone over 40, or ideas drying up as brain cells die... the creative fields tend to be staffed by the young-er.
Nevertheless - while I accept this might be entirely due to my own skewed perception - there still seems to be a prevailing sense that video games are for the young. If you're beyond a certain age, and you play games, the media will often portray you as a geek, or a weirdo, or a serial killer.
This is despite a 2014 survey by America's Entertainment Software Association, which revealed nearly 40% of gamers in the US were aged 36 or over.
Frankly, my generation - I'd estimate I'm sort of a second generation gamer (slightly too young to be into the Atari VCS in a massive way, but old enough to be there for the UK home computer boom of the early 80s) - haven't put down their controllers. I suspect that most of us have carried on playing games, despite it being the sort of thing you'd never want to mention in polite conversation.
Don't get me wrong: this isn't some sob story. God forbid. I've got the label on my head - "Privileged white man" - and daren't for a second risk whinging that my life is anything other than perfect and wonderful, and without struggle. They'd be on me in a second. And they'd be right to do so, probably.
I've only ever experienced any of them as a bystander - I don't know how it feels to be abused or excluded for my gender, my sexuality, or the colour of my skin.
But I am getting older, and I'm too aware that I'm getting older - I'm starting to know what it's like to have doors shut in my face, and hear the laughter and clinking of glasses coming from behind them.
Places like Computer Exchange, or Game - where once I was so at home - now feel less like somewhere I'm welcome to visit, unless I'm there to buy games for someone's nephew. These days I'd steer away from dinner party conversation about say, the new Call of Duty, and stick to approved middle aged topics such as carpets, or curtains, or pensions. Even working in my day job - writing stuff for kids TV and that - I'm always surprised how few people seem to play video games.
Or dare admit to it, anyway.
And that's part of why I'm back doing Digitiser, I think. I love playing video games, but it's a dirty secret now. As a middle-aged gamer, I find myself having to hide my habit more and more. I need an outlet for it, even if it's completely undignified to be writing about games at 43. I don't care. I can't afford to care. Games mean too much to me, and I love them slightly too much, to keep my hobby tucked away under a mattress forever. I won't make the mistake a second time.
So, while all are welcome at the Digitiser2000 sexy-name drinks party, I'd like to raise a toast to the middle-aged gamer - those of us who were there at the beginning, who bought the games, who dug the foundations that the modern games industry was built on. Those of us who have clung to this hobby in the face of adulthood wearing us down, and the all-consuming courting of youth. Those of us who have weathered the middle-age spread, and held onto our consoles like life preservers.
They may not want us in view, they might think we smell weird, and that we can't hold a joypad properly because of our arthritic fingers, but they wouldn't be here if it wasn't for us. They wouldn't even have a games industry.
So remember that, the next time some 18 year-old second hand games shop goth gives you a dirty glance. Lock eyes with the ignorant little oaf, and tell him that you're proud to be old and gaming. And then chin him in his barely-haired face.