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Many people over 50 are playing video games. How can you learn to play like your grandchildren


Video games are more popular than ever – in fact, video game makers’ earnings grew 27% last year to $ 56.9 billion, according to research firm. NPD group.

Joost van Dreunen, an assistant professor at the Stern School of Business in NYU and author of the book “One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of videogame, says:“ Historically, game companies Only target a narrowly defined audience. “However, he notes,” the digitalization of games and the popularity of smartphones has led to a wider and more diverse audience interested in an interactive entertainment experience “.

That includes the elderly. David S. Heineman, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Bloomsburg and author of “Thinking about video games: Interview with experts,” said: “The era of gamers has aging over the past decade. “

“The 50s are now kids when the Atari was first
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Systems come in, Heineman says, and they also play video games, so there’s a childhood nostalgia attached to video games. Additionally, there is an evolution in the game’s graphics and the shift towards a series of stories that appeal to more audiences than just teen boys. “

In addition to auto shooting, racing and car theft games, video games now have quizzes, mission games, mysteries and even love stories.

Start the video game

AARP survey found that the number of adults over 50 playing video games has grown to 50.6 million in 2019 from 40.2 million in 2016 – and women play more than men.

I am one of them.

I recently tried video games during the pandemic as a way to connect with my 30-year-old nephew, Jared. He loves video games and talks about them all the time, and it’s hard for me to understand why. We always go to the movies together and go to dinner, but given COVID-19’s limitations, we rarely see each other.

Jared was happy to lend me his Play Station (PS) 4 when he scored a very popular PS 5 this past Christmas. Once setup was done, I signed up for a year for $ 60, and we connected via a PS system using a headset.

We started with a multiplayer game called “Borderlands”, the point where I got away with it – aside from killing monsters and marauders rushing at you. I often find myself stuck staring at the wall, sky or floor while Jared kills everything around me. Occasionally, I would get rid of a few shots when I dashed at an enemy, but that usually made me die. Of course, in video games you have another chance, so all goes well.

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My nephew was patient and instructive, so I gradually got to know the controls (lots of buttons!) And what I had to do. I even branched out on my own and tried some solo games.

How do you start playing the game?

You may already be a gamer and don’t even know it if you play the game on your smartphone. “Words with Friends”, “Angry Birds”, “Bejeweled” and “Candy Crush” are all considered video games and many free games.

If you want to achieve what we think are “real” video games, both van Dreunen and Heineman recommend Nintendo.
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Play Station or Xbox as a good starter console.

“The Nintendo Switch has many beginner-friendly games like ‘Animal Crossing’ and ‘Mario Kart’ that you can play with your family,” says Heineman. You can also download classic arcade games. like “Galaga” and “Pac-Man”.

Also see: 7 smarter ways to play video games and boom esports than to buy GameStop

Van Dreunen, who plays video games three hours a day with his son and friends, added that after playing on the Nintendo Switch, “you can determine if you want to go online with other people and give it a try. something like ‘Fortnite’ or exploring an immersive world like ‘World of Warcraft.’

The console that you connect to the TV, usually comes with a controller; You will need to buy seconds if you want to play with someone else and a headset if you want to play from home or online. You’ll also have to pay for a gaming service – a Nintendo subscription for $ 19.99 for a year, for example.

5 tips for first time players

Here are some tips if you are new to video movement:

1. There are thousands of books for you to choose from And you can download them to your console or buy a hard copy at stores like Walmart
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and Best Buy
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Prices range widely, from around $ 9.99 to $ 79.99. Some platforms offer the game for free. Carefully check the stories behind all games to make sure it’s content you care about and that you can handle it.

I made the mistake of buying a popular single-player game called “The Last of Us” which was supposed to be an epic journey across America. Turns out this is a zombie horror story where I am constantly being attacked by different types of creepy zombies. It made my heart pound and made me have nightmares, so I gave up this game.

2. Make sure the game is compatible with your platform. Some games are only released on certain systems.

3. Expect a learning curve. Older adults do not intuitively understand how these games work or what we have to do. If you don’t have an experienced player by your side like me, search your phone for tips and practice guides while you’re playing. Gamers have posted videos and detailed articles to help you learn how to solve puzzles or perform quests.

4. Video games often alternate narrative cutscenes with game sequences to expand the story. When the action stops, it’s your turn to move the character you’re playing. And if you don’t know what to do, look for arrows that point you in a certain direction or find an object such as a door, barrel or lock to open, push, hit or shoot.

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5. If you have a disability or have a condition such as arthritis that makes it difficult to operate the controller, look for suitable equipment. Visit Ablegamers.org, a non-profit charity that helped design adaptive game controllers for Xbox systems, for more information.

Nancy Monson is a writer, artist and coach who regularly writes about the connection between creativity and health. She is the author of the book “Crafts for Healing: Calming Your Soul by Sewing, Painting, and More.” Connect with her on Instagram.

This article is reprinted with permission of NextAvenue.org, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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