"I can't count the number of times I've heard people talk about getting bested at a videogame by a kid. These stories typically involve people in their thirties (or much older) playing games with their sons/daughters (or nieces/nephews or younger sisters/brothers or younger cousins or friends' sons/daughters, etc.) and getting totally dominated, which then leads them to write on their blogs or talk to their friends about how they can't believe how good this kid is at playing videogames. We've all heard some version of this, or perhaps experienced it firsthand.
This makes me wonder if gaming skill operates similarly to language acquisition. Maybe my brother's early-life exposure to previous Smash Bros. games gives him a built-in advantage that my practice will never overcome. It could be that after age 12 our brains can't instinctively master certain gameplay styles that we weren't previously exposed to, hence my suckiness at newer fighting games. I'm not saying older people can't master new gameplay styles, but rather that there might be a developmental cutoff after which achieving such mastery becomes much harder."