Age and reaction speed - aka FAO forum oldies


It seems being in your late 20’s+ here puts you in the latter end of the spectrum in terms of average age. How do people of this age feel about playing fighting games?

Do you worry about a drop in your physical reactions? Have you noticed any changes as you got older?

Having a look at a few studies it seems reaction times are actually on the increase to the age of 30 and don’t show much decline until the age of 40 so this may be a bit premature. Plus what reduction there was was very minimal (I think it was equivalent to a 1f difference between a teen and a 40 something, I beleive they even start to increase again in your 50’s)

I know Daigo is 29 (same age as myself) and he has spoke in various interviews about his fear of losing his reactions.

Me personally, I’m starting to feel the more I play fighting games and the better I get, reaction time gets less and less important as I’m influencing and reading my opponent better and relying less on pure twitch reactions. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least somewhat concerned about the decline of one’s reaction speed.

So, how old are you guys and what are your thoughts?


I don’t think we have anything to worry about (anytime soon atleast). The first that I can think of that will relate to reaction speed is drumming. It does appear that in drumming, you need reaction (along with muscle memory) to keep your patterns, improvising, and rhythm going. I remember seeing this legendary jazz drummer named Billy Higgins years ago. He had to be in his late 60’s, but his speed and precision were mind boggling.

Maybe an actual decline has to do with the life changes that happen when we get older. I know that if I still was able to practice for hours a day, I be still on top of it, but I cant afford to do that anymore, so I am not as solid as I was a few years ago.

My age starts with a 3 by the way.


It also has a lot to do with what you put in your body as you age: eating nutrients that keep the mind and the reflexes sharp and staying away from crap that will deteriorate your senses and physical wellness.


Well, im 30 now and my reaction time has gone to shit. The way things are going for me its not going to get any better, it will just get worse. I blame the booze though. Im an alcholic and I was a heavy, heavy drinker and im sure that that played a part in it. It doesnt help that im crazy and take all kinds of meds that make me wonky.

I also dont play as much as I did when I was younger. I play maybe 5 hours a week. 10 years ago I would play that much or more in a day.


xP I’m 17 and my reactions suck


I’m 25 and I like to stay positive.
I like to think your reaction time stays good long enough if you train.
But we have yet to see all that, I think increasing reaction time will take a while for me but also those that are in their 30s.


I remeber watching some show on HBO about korien gamers. This was a while ago so it could have been another chanel. It had to do with them playing games, being addicted to games, and how games are a big part of the culture. They were showing starcraft tournys and shit and the dudes that competed in them were like big stars and shit.

Anyhow, they were talking about reaction time and what not and they said most of the big starcraft players stop at around 28-30 or something. Saying that thier reaction time drops by that age and thats why you really only see young guys in the major leagues. The show followed one of the biggest, and oldest, players in the game. And that was one of his biggest fears. Losing his reaction time, because he new once that droped, even a little, his starcraft career would pretty much be over.


Even if your reaction time does slow you will adapt to it seeing as its not overnight. Think of it more in terms of evolution. You will adapt. I really dont see myself playing video games when I’m in my 40’s-50’s who knows I could be wrong.


Gian is over 40 and is still as good as ever.


I was a competitive player from 2001 ~ 2005 (From the ages of 19 ~ 24) and I took the time off the get life in order i.e. Grow the fuck up and get in my career field. (IT)

I’d say I was Mid-Tier in the scene…Never really won any big ones but I placed Top 10 in a few regionals and my game was CvS2.

Now I’m 28, I’ll be 29 on Oct. 9th - My reaction speed has gone down a little bit because of rust, I haven’t played a fighter “for real” since 2005, and I’m trying to take SSF4 seriously w/ Ibuki.

It’s harder to get into the “zone” (other tourny players will know that I mean) and it’s a slower progress then before because I really don’t have the time to put into it - I’m damned near married now, Bills, rent, etc. take up my time in the past I’d chill most of the weekend playing games… nowadays I run errands on the weekends cause I work M-F 9-6 so that’s the only time I can get shit done and at night I go out, have fun - Bars and Resturants, etc.

My biggest problem and I’m sure this is the case for most of us “older” guys - TIME is not on our side… I can hardly find the time for fighters anymore, Not the time one would need to be tourny caliber anyways. Back in the early 00’s I didn’t have a steady job 1/2 the time, I had lots of time for CvS2 - The scene was my life.

You have to realize that most top players don’t have anything else but the scene, that’s it - I’ve been there, Done that.


I don’t think reaction has much to do with SF TBH. Most of my losses and gains are made through calculation or lack of it. Almost forgot to mention game knowledge too.


Mycah is on the ball: I’m going to be thirty in October, and my good friend who founded GRAPSF (our local crew) is up there too.We’re on the extreme edge of the age line, though: most of our group is in their VERY early twenties.

The time thing is what sucks most. I write freelance games journo stuff, I have a full time plus job, I have a girlfriend who doesn’t care about gaming in general, I have a wide circle of friends who don’t play ANY video games, let alone Street Fighter. I play for a few hours during the week, and all day Saturday every other weekend. It sucks to drop combos or get nailed with an overhead you saw coming because you just aren’t fast enough or in practice enough to do it right, but I look at it this way: I still place well, and I have a lot of fun. That’s good enough for me.


I’m 25 and I’ve been in and out of the competitive scene for a while, as life allows. I wasn’t playing for a good year or two but then got in around the time SF4 came out, and at first I was thinking that my reactions really had went down hill. Then once I knew what to look for and was able to increase my perception and anticipation (something that may get better as you get older), my reaction time actually got better. I find myself reacting to things I normally wouldn’t have when I was younger. If you lose reaction time as you get older, it certainly hasn’t started for me yet.

As long as you keep your mind sharp, I think your reactions won’t go down. Older people get lazy, play less, care less, eat lots of food, get out of shape, etc etc. I think if someone in their 30’s - 40’s put as much time into it as many younger people do without the restrictions of real life, they would maintain probably the same level of reactions as when they were younger, or atleast close to. There’s a 40-ish player in my area that has amazing reaction time, DPing EVERYTHING with Ryu. He’s actually kinda scary for that, so I really don’t think you guys should worry about this stuff.

For me, I’ll keep playing games as long as my life allows. I’d love to see how long Wong / Daigo stay on top though. My bet is a long ass time, if neither of them gives up the hobby.


I just hope a joystick will keep me away from getting Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.


Dang, all this time I never once owned a joystick let alone had one per say a day even trying it out. I wonder how many under-aged kids go to these Olympic gaming events and cheat their way to victory for having better reactions. Meh, it just depends on the person, I could be 70 years ago and still mop the floor with trash.


Being 22, let me provide a different viewpoint.

My reactions are good enough to place well in tournaments, but I’d be lying if I said I thought they were really good. I think that good reactions are more of a training thing than an age thing.

Of course, your physical peak is around 18-23, so if you trained your reactions before then then these would be the best they’re ever going to get (a la Korean Starcraft camps). For most of us, I’d say the age is not going to be incredibly relevant.


Daigo’s gameplan isnt reaction based, thats why hes been able to play at such a high level for a long time. He’s always spacing people into decisions. Or just guess dp’ing.


Age isn’t really my enemy. Finding a career, finishing college, and trying to find a decent woman all combined to make me take a more casual approach to videogames.