As always, I agree with you on the fun part. Fun's good.
However I wouldn't compare those gamer generations with each other. Market has changed so fast, with the internet and the whole video game market growing like mad ...
It's not that they are more gullible to marketing than you or someone of your age is. There simply is much more marketing. Nowadays, the gaming industry is huge compared to former times, which means the marketing section grew too. With so many more ads and other marketing stuff, they are of course more susceptible to buy games than you were back then ... So it's not done with calling them retarded.
And the more games there are, the more bad games there are. Nowadays, from 10 new games, 9 are bad. So chance is high that if you buy a game without some research it'll turn out bad. I'd say higher than earlier, though I can't know that, as I wouldn't call myself as the old gamer generation ... (:
Plus, I wouldn't agree to 100% on you internet reviewer statement either. Of course, all those bashers out there enjoy their bit of attention ... But I wouldn't say that every reviewer has a tactic like that.
A friend of mine (who's in fact 29 ...) once told me something similar concerning the video game magazines. He said that he missed the time when there was no internet. Where he desperately waited for the new magazine to be released so that he can read it. With the internet nowadays, information leaks from every tiny hole. No excitement.
Anyway, that's not the point I wanted to make. What I want to say is: Back then, you could count the videogame magazines on one hand (at least that was the case here in austria). Which means, no business competition at all. If someone was interested in video game reviews, he had no choice but to buy that certain magazine, simply as he lacked choices. It doesn't matter how good the reviewer and the article was. You bought it, because you had no other choice. Nowadays with the internet, it's completely different. Too many to ever see them all. Which means, to really stay on top and have many people visit your website, it sure is not enough to just rant about every little game. No, I think in fact it is much harder to have your visitors (although there are much more potential visitor) if you want to do some serious reviewing, as there are simply so~ many other different reviewing websites, so many other 'rivals'. To receive your attention online, you have to do some good reviews too so that you'll really be recognized ... So I wouldn't say quality standards are only going downhill on the net.