essays

We Got Game Still

Honda Element dogsI can’t be the only boomer who is taking a belated interest in video games. It seems like we still got game after all. But it’s not the appeal of the more violent games such as Grand Theft Auto that has caught our attention.

In my own case, I just want to see what I’ve missed. If it’s only gaming where you shoot at people and things, we have enough of that in real life. It appears that boomers are looking for something more constructive or rewarding, and strategy games such as Civilization and the Sims may be just the ticket. I mean what self-respecting baby boomer doesn’t thing she/he can build an empire from scratch or create a better community? We’re the can-do generation, right?
The other avenue for boomers would be games like Nintendogs or Brain Age which help you exercise your noodle. I guess the attraction here is that if you engage with video games you can keep using your brain and keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

If you want some physical exercise to stay fit, the whole Nintendo Wii phenom may be just right. Some retirement communities and cruise ships are installing the consoles just to get residents up on their feet and moving again. It’s not just the movement that helps, but the thinking that goes into the activity as well. Bowling without the heavy real ball cuts down on body Civilization gameaches and pains, but it still is a decent form of exercise for someone who is doing no other form of exercise.

The big game publisher Electronic Arts runs a web site called Pogo where boomers can play simpler games such as Poppit, Word Whomp and Bingo Luau that are amusing entertainment if you want to kill some time, but they do promote mouse dexterity and some level of brain activity. Hey – it’s another way to get through the day, okay? And what’s so wrong if the place turns into MySpace for seniors?

Bookworm from PopCap games is another video game popular with older players. Similar to Scrabble (which also can be played online), Bookworm has you building words for points with letter tiles.

In the final analysis, we are becoming just another demographic for the game makers to hook on “game crack” but I guess that’s better than the only option being to shoot up gangbangers, and it’s certainly going to be more beneficial for our brains.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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