Reaction Times

Okay I'm going to just come out and say it: I hate multiplayer as I generally lose. Now I could make excuses like I don't get to play as much as I used to or other gamers are ploughing more time into gaming or some such thing but the reality is that my reaction times have slowed down. The biggest indicator for me was when I had a friend around to play 'Burnout Revenge' recently. Now I bought the game when it first came out and played it to death, getting most of the trophies and achievements, but I hadn't played it in about 3 years.

 Burnout Revenge, a great multiplayer racer.

Burnout Revenge, a great multiplayer racer.

My friend, who was 3 years my junior (I'm 33 and he's 30) owned me on this game, not just beating me but beating me comprehensively.  He had played the game before but not to the extent I had. I don't mind getting beaten in games, its part and parcel of being a gamer. However I remember in my youth completing twitch games likes Operation Wolf on the keyboard on my Amstrad CPC 464. For people who don't know the game, that is quite an achievement, even more so when you consider the game is based in a jungle and the primary colour is green and I had a monochrome green screen for my Amstrad! I was King of twitch games and this showed in my completing many a  shmup like Thunderforce 3 and 4 and many bullet hell shooters.

As I've gotten older and my time less freer to play games my reaction times have got worse. Almost every online game is about reaction times and adapting to situations as they occur whether they be racing, FPS or beat 'em ups. These games are all about making split second decisions and adjustments and I have gotten slow, so recently I've taken to improving my reaction times using the free Human Benchmark Reaction Time Test. I've noticed that with practice my reaction time has improved from 335 miliseconds to 297 milliseconds. It may not seem much but with more practice I hope to improve further still.

So, have your reaction times got slower and how is this affecting your gaming?