If you think video games are just for kids consider that Asteroids, the classic arcade offering, made its debut in 1979. Pac Man will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in May.
America’s youngest senior citizens grew up playing them at least occasionally at an arcade or the corner candy store.
And if you think Wii and other electronic games available on phones or Playstation aren’t your grandparents’ video games, a recent study conducted by AARP would say you would be quite wrong.
The organization in December released “Gaming Attitudes and Habits of Adults Ages 50-Plus.” The 48-page study says that video games have never been more popular.
Among the study’s findings are that 44 percent of adults over 50 played video games at least once a month in 2019, as opposed to 38 percent, growing from 40.2 million to 50.6 million in the same time period.
Forty-nine percent of all women, and 40 percent of the men. play, and they are averaging five hours per week.
The AARP also found that older adults today are using their phones more often, transitioning away from computers, tablets and laptops.
And, as game creators no doubt have taken note, AARP estimates that gamers 50 and over spent $3.5 billion in the first six months of 2019, an exponential increase over the $523 million spent from January through June in 2016.
The survey found, in fact, that one senior in 10 has purchased games or accessories recently.
The Catholic Charities Howard Beach Senior Center has offered video games such as Wii for recreation, as do other senior centers in Queens.
Judy Ascherman, program director at the center, said they also have been used to examine therapeutic effects for numerous phycical conditions or illnesses.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the website for Parkinson’s News Today, and other published sources cite multiple studies from 2012 through present day.
The AARP study also delved into uses beyond entertainment, including the ability of the games to help older adults create communities, using them to have fun, relieve boredom and stay mentally sharp.
They also tend to enjoy the competition of playing with or against others, with family members considered to be good partners.
It states that the games provide relief from stress and anxiety, though a graph on the same page also shows that of survey respondents felt they are addicted to the games or that family members or friends felt that they were.
Puzzle/logic games, as well as card/time games are the favorites, according to the study.
And yes, said the AARP, children and grandchildren were found to have various levels of influence on senior gamers.