There are fewer and fewer conservatives who say that video games are for children and teenagers. And those who hold on to their beliefs to the last are actually latent gamers who dream of taking a gamepad, putting on headphones, launching Cyberpunk 2077 and disappearing into the virtual world… But jokes aside. Let’s not deny the obvious fact – we are children at heart, we want to play.
Why do older people start playing or play until old age?
1. Games are fun. This is a great entertainment, the best way to relax, get rid of stress, and shed the accumulated negativity. Perhaps this is the main cause of gambling in people of all ages. Escape from the boring gray everyday life to another, more interesting world created by the imagination of others. Try on the role of a hero who decides the fate of the world, or just blow off steam by shooting from a shotgun. What could be better?
2. Hobby. Video games are just as good as other forms of entertainment. It’s just that they’re younger than classic ways like sewing, knitting, and gardening. No one has questions in their heads: “Why do older people go in for sports, watch movies, go fishing, conquer mountain peaks?”
3. Availability. Video games are the most affordable entertainment when compared to others. Not everyone has the strength, money and health to rush to the Alps to ski or surf the seas on their yacht. Some can’t even leave the house. And almost any pensioner can fulfill his dreams in the virtual world. Sitting in an easy chair, with a cup of steaming tea and a handful of chocolates at hand.
4. Health benefits. There are many studies confirming that video games support brain activity, train memory, attention, reaction speed, and help make decisions faster.
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found that video games reduce the risk of cognitive decline by 22%. Video games help even those elderly who have a gene responsible for the synthesis of alipoprotein E4 (apoE4), a substance that causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Do not underestimate the ability of games to fight depression and improve the psychological state of the elderly. Games, like sports, release endorphins into the blood – hormones of happiness. Sincere laughter, joy and pleasure in such cases are no less effective than medicines.
5. Lack of communication. Many grandparents suffer from loneliness (and this problem is not far-fetched). And video games help to make new friends and just chat with strangers online. For some, this replaces communication with grandchildren who are not. And someone just wants to find a peer with similar interests.
6. Desire to understand youth. It is no secret that the difference between several current generations is enormous. And in order to understand what grandchildren breathe, you need to immerse yourself in the appropriate environment. That’s what computer games allow you to do. In addition, what grandmother or grandfather will not be happy if their beloved granddaughter boasts to his friends about their gaming victories. Yes, and posted on the Youtube channel.
7. Natural curiosity. With age, most people lose this extremely important feature of human nature. But not all. And one cannot help but rejoice that older people are trying to experience the high-tech innovations of this world from personal experience.
8. Love for art. Many major game projects have become real masterpieces that anyone wants to get acquainted with. But unlike painting or film, the advantage of video games is their interactivity. Each player inside the virtual world gets freedom of action (within limited limits, of course).
A good modern game is a fusion of story, game mechanics, graphics and music. That is, it combines several types of art at once, being a unique phenomenon of our time. And a person of an age who loves art in all its manifestations is definitely not worth missing.
Video games for older people
There are no special games (we are not talking about research projects of institutes) or game studios that would specialize in developing projects for age gamers. But older gamers are not looking for them. They try those games that are popular and well-known.
Puzzles, quests, intellectual games
Puzzles are recognized as the most useful games for people of age. And this is not surprising: games of this genre are the best workout for the mind, which does not allow the neural connections of the brain to degrade.
The most obvious choice is Tetris, although most often older people prefer match-3 puzzles at the initial stage, as well as card solitaire and checkers with chess. Of course, in the mobile version. For more advanced pensioners, any good and difficult quests are suitable, such as The Talos Principle, Syberia, The Witness.
Grandparents also like to play strategy games. Of course, Dota 2 or Starcraft 2 is not for everyone, but slow turn-based games will come in even for beginners. So, one study showed that tens of thousands of American retirees play Tropico 5, a popular city-building simulator. Another great option is the Civilization turn-based strategy series.
The benefits of games of this genre are confirmed by psychologists from the University of Montreal. They have proven that 3D video games increase the amount of gray matter in the hippocampus and cerebellum in older people. Platformers create a cognitive map of the virtual environment in the hippocampus, since their passage requires the involvement of spatial memory processes. This is a good prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. The game used for the study was Super Mario 64.
As an alternative to the elderly, you can consider any other modern platformers. For example, Ori and The Blind Forest, Rayman Legends, Spyro Reignited Trilogy and others. They are more difficult, but therefore they have a stronger effect on the brain.
Any dynamic shooters improve vision, attention, speed of perception and information processing, develop fine motor skills. But here the main thing is not to go too far, so that too bloody and realistic battles do not harm the psyche of age gamers and do not lead to a heart attack. CS: Go is a great option.
Professional gamers in old age
And the most interesting, in the end. Examples of pensioners who are not afraid of video games. Let’s start with our compatriots.
Anna Mikhailovna Sandalova A.K.A Baba Anya from Iskitim
A 62-year-old gamer grandmother from the Novosibirsk region got acquainted with games back in the 90s with the help of Dendy. However, she became seriously interested in games only in 2015 – her grandchildren hooked her grandmother on Minecraft. Grandmother got involved, tried CS: Go, washed down her own YouTube channel (which, by the way, has 199 thousand subscribers) and knocks out opponents no worse than her grandchildren. Baba Anya also plays World of Tanks and Warface.
Nikolai A.K.A Neolux Neolux
73-year-old grandfather from St. Petersburg, who, to the great regret of the gaming community, recently passed away. Nikolai loved playing Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice, Nioh and other games. Saddened by the news, fans have reached out to FromSoftware to honor the Dark Souls veteran in one of their next projects.
On his YouTube channel, Nikolai has collected almost 24 thousand subscribers. Let’s hope that grandfather will be immortalized in the new Elden Ring RPG from FromSoftware.
Aman Alashbaev A.K.A Atashka
Kazakh 75-year-old grandfather, tired of board games, decided to join the entertainment of his grandchildren. And here we have a new player in CS: Go. As expected, grandfather has his own YouTube channel with almost 80 thousand subscribers. But, unfortunately, the latest videos there are dated last year.
Foreign Granny Gamers
Let’s start with the world’s oldest living female gamer, Japanese grandmother Hamako Mori. Now she is 90, and the granny’s playing experience is neither more nor less than 39 years. Her favorite game is GTA V, which Hamako describes as “fun, beautiful, cinematic.” Grandma can only be envied: she plays 7-8 hours a day, has her own YouTube channel with 358,000 subscribers. And she was also entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest person leading a gaming YouTube channel.Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Edition (PS4) 2,499 *
Pioneer among retired gamers. Grandmother from the United States back in 1984 at the age of 58 received the title of “World’s Oldest Video Game Champion”. Her life fell on the era of arcade slot machines. Grandmother continued to play them until a tragic accident in 2006. Doris last competed at the age of 70.
One of the most famous and age grandmothers of gamers. Shirley is from Virginia and is 84 years old. Civilization 2 was the first game that pulled her into the maelstrom of gaming. But her favorite game TES 5: Skyrim brought real popularity to her grandmother. There are hundreds of videos dedicated to Skyrim on her YouTube channel, and the number of subscribers has exceeded 900 thousand.
Game Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (PS4) 2 250 *
She admits that she fell in love with video games in the 1980s. Then her passion was SuperMario Bros. Subsequently, together with her husband, she spent long hours in GTA. When he died, the English grandmother began to play Call of Duty with her grandson.
Game Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PS4) 3 099 *
In 2012, the Englishwoman turned 100 years old, but her mental and physical activity did not match her age. According to Kathleen herself, the NintendoDS game console, given to her by her daughter for her 96th birthday, allowed her to maintain clarity of mind. Every day, Kathleen spent two hours at puzzles, not letting old age get the better of her.