Grandma Loves Gaming

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Grandma loves gaming

We have a love/hate relationship with video games. There’s no mystery on that front. You can’t go a week without seeing a new report on how video games are corrupting our youth and driving them to some form of angry destruction.

But this blog is actually about the opposite side of that equation: the love side. And for that matter, the not so youthful side.

It just so happens that gaming is on the grow with the over-50 adult set. And in a way, that makes total sense. After all, today’s senior citizens were all fun-loving youngsters when video games were just coming into their own.

Even if today’s elder statesmen gamers weren’t fans from way back when, though, they’re still starting to dig the groovy cool of a bit of button crunching. And they’re getting into the fun for a number of groovy, cool reasons.

NBC News posted an article recently that featured the story of 88-year-old Audrey Buchanan. She loves playing a little Nintendo 3DS game called Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a 2013 game that sets you off on a farming quest in a sunny burg full of talking bunnies, ducks, squirrels and owls. Audrey has reportedly put some 3,500 hours into the game. She says that not only does she love the fun, and the sense that the in-game animal friends are “like company,” but it also helps her connect with her 38-year-old grandson, who’s also into gaming.

If you’re thinking that this particular octogamerian is a rare fluke, you would be wrong. A 2016 study by the American Association of Retired Persons states that 38% of America’s 50-and-older set are currently blending video games into their regular lifestyle. And a good chunk of them are actually playing games online so they can use the fun as a way to connect with others. The NBC News story tells of a 66-year-old guy with the gaming handle “GrndPaGaming” who became pretty popular on the game streaming site Twitch, where some 200,000 subscribers regularly tune in to watch him play.

Oh, and if you want some more positive statistics connected to this older gaming goodness, you need look no further than this article that compiles info from a number of studies. It points out that gamers young and old can gain everything from relief from stress to improved hand-eye coordination, mental flexibility and enhanced spatial memory while they game away.

Of course, I’m not saying that there are no possible downsides to gaming or the sometimes nasty content in games. (I mean, that’s why we review video games and point out said content, after all.) But I am saying that there are plenty of positives here, too, especially for grandmas who want to keep their minds active and find ways to connect with the young ones in their lives. .

NBC News also introduced readers to another gaming granny named Shirley Curry. She’s really into an online Skyrim game called The Elder Scrolls (ironically enough). And she said:

“I know if I wasn’t playing games, I would just be sitting here at home, quilting, reading. It would get boring, and I would get tired and it would probably lead to depression.”

Now, nothing against quilting and reading, but if they’re driving your grandparents to some form of angry depression, then we’d better get them gaming straight away!

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

1 Momentos 7 months ago
This is great, I think I will still play video games when I get old. play platform games on hudgames.
Big Mike 7 months ago
i second that opinion 
Zach Frost 7 months ago
My Dad (age 55) plays games with me all the time! We really enjoy it, and it gives us even more quality time than a walk in the park, etc. I love video games (clean E,E10+, mild T games) and it gives me an outlet since I don't have a lot of friend in real life.
Great article, as always, Bob! God bless!
E Hayes 7 months ago
I had a patient at the hospital where I work that was in her 80's and playing a console game.  She thought that it would help her memory and hands, plus she had something to do while she was stuck in the hospital.
The Mouse Of Non 7 months ago
Yes!!! They finally unbanned me!!! Thanks to @Emma Bibliophile for her help with that.

Posted by A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
You're welcome, it was my pleasure. I have never been in the gaming community so I honestly don't have an opinion on this article.
-Emma Bibliophile
Karl The Klown 7 months ago
What I do think a lot of people realize is that video games are oftentimes are more personal and natural form of social media. So instead of merely text, online gaming includes voice chat. And in our highly technological world, in which were seldom actually have vocal conversations with strangers (or even friends and family) gaming provides a much needed outlet for this type of discourse. And just like in real life, you might run into some jerks. You might get bullied, harassed, etc..... but overall, I have found it a fairly pleasant, and overall of net benefit. Oftentimes, me and some Xbox buddies will just hang out in party chats and chill. Its a fun social outlet.
Also, I play with some fairly older people. People in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s. The vast age range makes for some very interesting conversations and gameplay 
Miles Hans 6 months ago
Might I recommend the highest form of gaming, tabletop roleplaying. Now, to be fair, it requires a really powerful ram (Brain level), graphics card (Imagination), and lots of storage (pen and paper, or perhaps Google Docs for the tech savvy). It includes wireless, bluetoothless voice chatting, ability to kick out jerks to never enter the "chat room" (some people call it the "game room," "basement," or "The Castle's Dungeon") again. Not only do you get to play with older people, you can actually play older people and get to act out having a Strength score of 8 (-1), a Wisdom of 20 (+5), and 8 levels of Wizard and 12 Levels of Cleric. This can make for very interesting conversations too, especially when your 782 year old character is about to rob a store for a fancy cloak with the help of a 22 year old orc rogue. Harassment can be a problem, yes, as soooo many creatures want to decrease your hit points even though that's ageist, but that's why your a cleric, you've learned to heal yourself while smiting your enemies into nonexistence. 
Karl The Klown 6 months ago
That has to be the nerdiest thing I have every read.
Congratulations.
Miles Hans 6 months ago
Ha, thank you, I've been playing since I was 10, I just love the game. But I've started to play more video games as my kids get older, they are really a lot of fun. Good to know things like that though as I now here them talking about their friends playing online and figure it will not be long before they start wanting too
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I see the grandma and her granddaughter are playing on a Gamecube. They have very good taste in gaming!
The Mouse Of Non 7 months ago
lol so true.

Posted by A-Non-Mouse