Why our grandmas should be gaming, too

Let them have fun, too.

If you’ve ever thought that going into the world of video games will keep you from having to meet your elders, then apparently you (and a good number of us as well) thought wrong, as proven in a National Public Radio article. According to NPR.org, more and more members of the older generation in their 50s and 60s are getting into video games for various reasons, and perhaps it’s actually good that they did.

For example, a 61-year-old retired English teacher from Austin, Texas likes to sit down in front of her computer everyday to play Guild Wars. Not only is it a form of entertainment for her since it’s an activity with a goal and a set of tasks to accomplish, but it also lets her interact with others.

In this lady’s case, she enjoys her interaction with another person in the same age bracket as she’s in, although this other person happens to be living in Australia, and she’s never met her even. Because of their time spent together online, they now consider each other as good friends. So, besides having a fun activity, the chance for socialization is also another factor why people play online.

Meanwhile, other grandparents are also found accompanying their grand kids in front of the console, or going on ad hoc mode on their handhelds. The reason for this? These older gamers have attested to the fact that this type of activity helps them maintain good hand-eye coordination and motor skills, while it also keeps their minds sharp – several very important things to keep when a person reaches that age.

With this new market for the said age group slowly becoming prominent, many are calling out to video game makers to respond to the needs (and wants) of this demographic. Some games for the older gen (like Brain Age) are already in the mainstream, so perhaps it IS about time that game companies veer away from the practice of thinking that their sole customers are composed of pimply teenagers or yuppies.

Of course, time and again, there have already been numerous calls to begin a facelift for the video game industry which would involve deviating from the usual guns-babes-explosions-zombies formula, to themes that are less testosterone-loaded, more intelligent, but no less fun.

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Let them have fun, too.

If you’ve ever thought that going into the world of video games will keep you from having to meet your elders, then apparently you (and a good number of us as well) thought wrong, as proven in a National Public Radio article. According to NPR.org, more and more members of the older generation in their 50s and 60s are getting into video games for various reasons, and perhaps it’s actually good that they did.

For example, a 61-year-old retired English teacher from Austin, Texas likes to sit down in front of her computer everyday to play Guild Wars. Not only is it a form of entertainment for her since it’s an activity with a goal and a set of tasks to accomplish, but it also lets her interact with others.

In this lady’s case, she enjoys her interaction with another person in the same age bracket as she’s in, although this other person happens to be living in Australia, and she’s never met her even. Because of their time spent together online, they now consider each other as good friends. So, besides having a fun activity, the chance for socialization is also another factor why people play online.

Meanwhile, other grandparents are also found accompanying their grand kids in front of the console, or going on ad hoc mode on their handhelds. The reason for this? These older gamers have attested to the fact that this type of activity helps them maintain good hand-eye coordination and motor skills, while it also keeps their minds sharp – several very important things to keep when a person reaches that age.

With this new market for the said age group slowly becoming prominent, many are calling out to video game makers to respond to the needs (and wants) of this demographic. Some games for the older gen (like Brain Age) are already in the mainstream, so perhaps it IS about time that game companies veer away from the practice of thinking that their sole customers are composed of pimply teenagers or yuppies.

Of course, time and again, there have already been numerous calls to begin a facelift for the video game industry which would involve deviating from the usual guns-babes-explosions-zombies formula, to themes that are less testosterone-loaded, more intelligent, but no less fun.

From several perspectives, this move can actually be beneficial for all. For one, designers will be prompted to get more and more creative in their efforts to catch the attention of an audience that is commonly aloof to such products while at the same time maintaining their hold on the market with whom they’re already popular with. This would then spawn new genres and varieties of games which is always a good thing in an industry. Next, by developing such games, they would not only be helping the elderly in physical (hand-eye coordination), mental, emotional (via the enjoyment that a game provides), and social aspects (being with the younger members of the family, meeting others of their age via games), but they would also be tapping into a vast and very rich market.

Yes. Old people have money. It’s one of the basic facts of marketing that a lot of people who are in their 50s are already just at home enjoying their pension, their trust funds, or their retirement checks. However, since these people have already left the world of the eight-to-five grind and there is no longer a routine to follow, they are mostly left with too much time on their hands. They are the perfect catch.

So whoever said that only the young ones can enjoy video games? The only reason why grandmothers and grandfathers are stereotyped as haters of fun technology is simply because the technology was never fun for them, with its rehashed themes and overly-complicated controls. Considering that these are the people who have raised us, perhaps it’s due time that they got to enjoy themselves as well. Nobody likes getting left out, so let’s bring them in to the world of gaming. Now, give them a theme that they like, something fun and interesting, and easy to learn, less buttons to remember, and they could be picking up that game in no time.

With everything said and done, one last and very important thing to remember would be this: Someday soon, we too will get old. When that time comes, would you really want to be set aside by your kids in one corner of your living room, together with the incredibly old and outdated PlayStation 3?

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