Go Old School with the Geezer Gamers

There are a few major gaming milestones in my life. Playing Colossal Cave on my Apple II+. My friend Jeff and I engaging in a Saturday-long game of Asteroids on my Atari 2600. Playing GoldenEye on my N64. Meeting my present off-line gaming group and launching our Blackrazor D&D campaign. And finding the Geezer Gamers.

The Geezers are a group of thirty-something individuals interested in finding fellow gamers who can appreciate having to pause the game to change a diaper, rescue one’s significant other from the baby, or have to bail on a game because work looms large the next morning.

The group primarily plays on Xbox and its online gaming service, Xbox Live. Live allows you to compete against people from around the country, and even the world. Unfortunately, some people on Live can be rather … immature. Rude. Obnoxious. With lots of inappropriate suggestions about what they’d like to do to my mother. Oh, and they’re 12. The Founding Geezers, tired of being told they would be “owned” by too-cool “gam3rz” (and, then promptly being owned — experience rarely seems to trump fast reflexes in Halo 2) decided they’d had enough, and founded a community of their very own: GeezerGamers.com.

Features, Features Everywhere

After joining up, the feature that new Geezers find most useful is the schedule, which Geezers use to post when and what they’ll be playing. Fellow Geezers can then pull up the schedule, see whose doing what, and send out “Friend requests” (online invitations within Xbox Live) to those who share their interests.

The site has an exceptionally robust forum, with dozens of topics dedicated to Geezer clans, old school gaming (as in Atari 2600 or the Commodore 64), parenting, and a variety of games. The game inventory section lets members list what games they have, as well as those they are interested in trading. The Geezer wiki is an encyclopedia of Geezer knowledge, including game hints and tips, game variants, and more. There’s also a weekly survey, member list, and blog.

An Exploding Community

The Founding Geezers started the site a few years back and up until early December, it had a few hundred members. Then Bungie.net ran an interview with one of the original Geezers, which led to a huge infusion of new members (including me).. What immediately impressed me about this site was that the founders actually took the time to welcome each and every new member as they signed up, went to the forums and posted a “hello world!” message in the newbie forum. We’re talking about hundreds of welcomes in a 24 hour period.

When I first arrived at GeezerGamers.com, and saw the tagline “headshots between diaper changes”, I knew I’d come home. While not everyone has kids, a lot do, and those who don’t can relate to the challenges of work, family, and snagging a little frag time after everyone’s gone to sleep. They are brothers and sisters in arms, enthusiastic gamers without the potty mouths of the pre-teens running amok on Live. Folks who don’t consider strategy to be cheating, who don’t quit just because they’re losing and whose reflexes are almost as bad as mine. In short — they’re Geezers.

Game On!

Since joining the gamers, I’ve added about 50 people to my Xbox Live Friends list, and they’re all quality gamers — individuals I can count on to play well with others. Another benefit of joining has been the sheer variety of scenarios I’ve been exposed to while playing Halo 2 with these Geezers. There’s “True War”, which involves Earth-only weapons, no damage resistance, and no shields for a very Counterstrike-like experience, “Dawn of the Dead”, a team game in which a zombie “team” hunts down the humans “team”, with any humans who are killed becoming zombies, and “Predator”, in which one character is “it” and has super speed, invisibility, infinite ammo and is the only one who can score (at least until someone else becomes “it”).

Women are welcome at the Geezers web site (age knows no boundaries) and will probably feel welcome at the site. After all, the male Geezers have actually seen and talked to girls before — even multiple times! It’s also a good place for geek moms and dads to meet up to schedule kid-friendly games online. There have already been a few father/son type matches and I expect there will be more. While Geezers do engage in some smack talk and between game mocking, it’s almost always done in good fun — someone’s as likely to complement you for a kill as they are to curse you.

Like any large community, the Geezers have their fads, and when a game variant sweeps the group, you can end up playing it more than you might like. But hey, an off-night with the Geezers is still better than just about any game out in the wilds of Xbox Live.

Final Analysis

GeezerGamers.com is perfect for anyone over 30 who’s into gaming on Xbox Live, but not into all the crap you encounter there. Younger individuals who want to play with a more mature crowd should also check it out.

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