Monday, July 16, 2007

Console gaming for Older Adults - not just for teens

The GenBetween blog mentioned a Boston Globe article by Robbie Brown about Nintendo marketing their Wii gaming console to older adults. Nintendo donated their Wii system to over a dozen retirement communities throughout the country to stimulate interest in the gaming console. According to the article, "For seniors who can't play sports any more, the Wii approximates the motion of the games they once enjoyed. It requires players to swing a motion-detecting controller like a golf club, bowling ball, tennis racquet, or other piece of athletic equipment." In addition, Digital Trends blog announced that Nintendo has recently introduced a brain game for the Wii, called "Big Brain Academy: Wii degree", which is being marketed to all age groups. The New York Times reported that Nintendo has started to showcase its Wii games at AARP events such as Life@50+.

Recently, I have been seeing a lot of articles about older adult gaming. For example, a recent post from the Last100 blog quotes Nintendo as stating that in households which own a Wii, "... 3/4 of men 25-to-49 have tried the Wii and 1/3 play it regularly. Of men more than 50 years old, half have tried it and 1 in 8 play games daily. Ten percent of women over 50 report playing the Wii regularly."

Many libraries are adding video games and gaming tournaments to attract teenagers to the library (see the Game on: Games in Libraries blog). However, games can also be used for older adult programing in libraries and in outreach. A PLABlog post lists Wii gaming as one of the examples of creative programming for older adults discussed at the "Programming Not Just for Boomers" presentation at the ALA 2007 conference. Leslie Farrell, from the Library2.0 social network, also pointed out Jenny Levine's presentation on Gaming in the Library which mentions older adult gaming along with teen gaming.

If a library is going to invest in a gaming console, it makes sense to encourage participation by patrons of all ages. Gaming programming can be for the whole family. Have any of your libraries hosted gaming tournaments? If so, were any of the programs targeted to families or older adults? Have any of your libraries used gaming consoles, such as the Wii system, for outreach to senior centers or assisted living facilities?

Note: I posted a followup to this post "More Wii gaming for older adults".

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