Issue 14: Grandma’s Gonna Kick Your Ass

The increase of senior gamers is a complex issue of champions and detractors.

By M. Noah Ward. Posted 09/07/2010 11:59 1 Comment     ShareThis

Issue 14: Grandma's Gonna Kick Your Ass

Growing old is a fact of life. The folks born in the WWII baby boom are in senior citizen status, and 15 years ago many of us might not have expected them to be playing video games alongside us, but here they are, largely thanks to Nintendo’s Wii. (Not everyone has cool gamer parents with their own Xbox 360s and gaming PCs like I do.) To confirm this, the Entertainment Software Association discovered that while only 5 percent of people over age 50 played video games in 1999, in 2008 26 percent of folks over 50 years old played video games. The influx is no coincidence after the DS’s Brain Age boom, followed by senior-friendly Wii’s introduction in 2006. (Let’s make a note here that age 50 does not automatically denote “senior” status; many would put the age at 65, 70 or greater.)

Some of us younger whippersnappers have been frustrated with this trend, citing how one of our favorite video game companies has taken a golden opportunity– that’d be Wii– and focused it too much on “casual” gaming that seniors thrive on, versus catering to the outspoken, younger, hardcore gamers who feel responsible for supporting and promoting Nintendo’s business to what it is today. Yet there’s no denying the benefit video games have for our elders, and how some people may be more thankful than critical of Nintendo’s strategic expansion.

The Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging found in a small study that seniors who regularly played “exergames” like Wii Sports several times a week had a 50 percent reduction in symptoms of depression. Researchers in the UK discovered that Wii Fit improved seniors’ ability to balance and keep from falling down. Overall, just like for kids, video games have helped seniors feel better and, with exercise games, improved their physical lifestyle.

What does this mean to Nintendo fans in their teens, twenties and thirties? what does it mean for Nintendo’s long term plans? And if seniors are so important, why don’t we see them in the games we play? That’s what we’ll explore this week.


Issue 14: Grandma’s Gonna Kick Your Ass

Game Age: What Makes Senior Gamers Tick? by Andrew Hsieh
Elderly gamers aren’t as rare as you think. The question isn’t “how do we get old people to play games?”, but rather “how do we stop them from kicking our butts?”

Old Things Are Great by Aaron Roberts
Why are we all so threatened by older gamers?  There’s tons of old stuff that’s great!

Fade to Grey by Adam Sorice
More older people are becoming gamers, so why aren’t game characters getting older?

Hot Air: Aged by Aaron Roberts
You old fogeys need to stop bogarting my vidja-games!

That One Game by Matthew Tidman
Just because our grandparents are gaming now doesn’t mean there’s not an occasional bad birthday gift.

The Elderly Are the End by James Stank
How the influx of elderly gamers will spell the end for Nintendo.

Greatest Geriatrics in Games by Andy Hoover
Nintendo games are host to a long line of awesome elders.

Additional features in this issue…


  • Nightly News Roundup by Francisco Naranjo & Andy Hoover


  • Poll: Are you a grandma gamer? by M. Noah Ward
  • Nightly News Roundup by M. Noah Ward


  • Dojo-Show-Go! Episode 107 by M. Noah Ward
  • Nightly News Roundup by Matthew Tidman


  • Nightly News Roundup by James Stank


  • Nightly News Roundup by M. Noah Ward

Coming Up Next Week…

Issue 15: Long Live the JRPG
As western-developed RPGs take more of the spotlight, we honor the original RPG flavor we love.

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