Gaming has always been a big part of my family life. My brother and I spent countless hours playing Pong or Tanks on the Atari. My cousins co-op’ed on Super Mario Bros when I’d bring my NES on visits.
I carried on the tradition with my son. We burned through every child-appropriate title on the Wii and Xbox 360 we could get our hands on. Even now that’s he’s eighteen, every once in a while he’ll humor me and invite me to play Fortnite.
Charles and I game together darn near every day with his son crashing cars in the background on BMG Fun. Even my ex-husband (my son’s father) obsesses over his creations on Minecraft. As I said, we’re a gamer family and gaming might be the only thing we all have in common. That and we all love each other, of course.
On March 28, 2022, I became a grandma and I can’t wait to share the evolution of gaming with my granddaughter. Yep, I’m forty-nine, old enough to have a grandbaby and no spring chicken when it comes to video games. What’s that you say? I’m aging beautifully? Awww, thanks! But I see posts all the time on Twitter questioning when one is “too old for gaming”. I say the answer is never.
Yes, I’m aware anyone over the age of twenty-four who still plays video games is labeled an “elderly gamer,” but here’s what I think Millennials and Post-Millennials forget: GenX was the first generation to grow up with video games. Arcades, Atari, Nintendo, and Sega were the staples of our youth. So why would we put down the controller (or joystick for my retro-gaming friends) simply because we hit a certain stage in life?
In Number of Gamers Worldwide 2022/2023: Demographics, Statistics, and Predictions, Financesonline.com states that 38% of gamers are 18-34 years old, but what actually means is 62% of gamers are well into the “elderly” category. 26% of gamers are women 50 and older (close enough, I’ll be 50 next year, lol). So while I might not be the most catered to demographic in grandma gamer girls aren’t as rare as they once were.
Considering I’ve played almost 150 titles in a little over two years, and countless others over a lifetime of gaming, I imagine they’ll have to pry the controller from my arthritic fingers at the nursing home (sidenote: Elliott, if you put me in a home, I’m spending your inheritance…not kidding). By the time my granddaughter is old enough to play, perhaps controllers will be a thing of the past. Then again, maybe not since the age at which folks start gaming these days is getting younger and younger.
It’s amazing to me that what started out as a little pixelated ball bouncing across the screen has given birth to such wondrous journeys suck as The Witcher 3, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Horizon Zero Dawn. I can’t wait to see what the future of gaming holds (yes, I’m praying it’s the Holodeck from Star Trek The Next Generation). And while it’s true gaming can foster unhealthy behaviors and toxicity, it also unites us all in a way little else can. Over the past 49 years, I have not lived one life, but many lives as various characters in various worlds and I’ve loved every minute of it.
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