Benefits of gaming: They make old people happy

The next big game from Maxis: SimKnitty (Image Source: TheFunnyInbox)

The next big game from Maxis: SimKnitty (Image Source: TheFunnyInbox)

I’m always a sucker for old people studies.

Some clever folks at North Carolina State Uni suggest that older adults who play video games report greater emotional functioning than those who don’t play. The team studied a bunch of 63-year-old-and-beyond people, looked at how often they played video games, and compared that to various aspects of their psychological functioning. The Regular and Occasional Gamers reported higher levels of well being and lower negative affect and depression than their non-gaming counterparts. Now, I’m understand that the definition of ‘video game’ is probably not limited to MMORPGs or first-person shooters and would probably include tamer games, but you get the point.

There have been plenty of other studies that look at the ways video games can benefit the elderly, and on top of that, they have been used to enhance video game design specifically aimed at the older population. Research suggests that certain video games may help improve the balance of the elderlyassist in their rehabilitation and, as Olivia Newton-John informs me, keep their brains active.

This gorgeous lady below is Kit, a 100-year-old Nintendo DS lover. Now, I really hope this isn’t just a clever ad by Nintendo, but either way, Kit’s just adorable:

My grandfather has always loved his games. He really loves this little handheld Tetris-like game, which he’s had for longer than I can remember. Recently, my cousin introduced my grandparents to games on the iPad, and now they know their way around it better than I do! I get warm fuzzies watching them play with such enjoyment and then looking quite chuffed when they advance levels.

So keep gaming into your golden years, gamers. I like to think that when my partner and I are old and wrinkly, his gamer’s brain will still be active enough to do the thinking for the both of us. My brain is pretty screwer unless some researcher proves that watching trashy TV shows also keeps brains active..? One can only hope.

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Hi, I’m Vicki and my partner is a gamer. I help bridge the divide between gamers and non-gamers. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at

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