I am 33 years old. But I think I am too old to play the latest Call of Duty game.
To be clear, this isn't to say I'm too old for video games in general. I love them! I play games all the time, whether it's Grand Theft Auto V or Pokemon X/Y.
Nor am I saying I'm too old for Call of Duty's brand of action, where the U.S. is constantly getting invaded, a double-cross is only ever minutes away, and everything explodes. That's all fine by me.
I feel too old to play Call of Duty because I don't think I have the reflexes to compete online in multiplayer anymore.
Call of Duty's multiplayer mode is incredible. 2007's Modern Warfare redefined what multiplayer shooters could be. It was innovative, it was deep, and it was fast. Multiplayer is the reason people are hooked on Call of Duty after the traditionally short singleplayer story ends.
I used to be decent. I wasn't great, but I'd hold my own. But with each passing version, with each passing year, I seem to get worse. I don't quite pull the trigger in time. I can't aim fast enough. I die. I die again. And again, and again, and again.
The game seems to get faster. I seem to get slower. And I wonder if my aging reflexes are to blame.
It might sound ridiculous to think that at 33. But it's not. Studies have shown that your reaction times start to decline from the age of 24. It's not just theory, either - professional gamers tend to retire before they hit 30.
Of course, I don't play at a professional level. Deep down, I'm know most of my struggles online could easily be because of other reasons, like having less time to play (and practice) than I used to. Or the brutal truth might be even simpler than that: I might be really bad at this game. No excuse, no physical limitation. I might just be terrible, period.
But it is undoubtedly something that sticks in the back of my mind every time I play a fast-paced shooter like Call of Duty... and every time I see my 21-year-old brother above me on the leaderboard.
I suppose I should let him enjoy it. After all, he's only got a few years left.