Gaming over 40

Who says it’s not “grown up” to play?


As we get older, we tend to abandon some of the things we enjoyed in our youth.  Perhaps it was because of limits on our time. Maybe it was because of physical limitations.  Other times, it’s because we claim that we’re just “too old” to be engaging in certain activities.

The latter is where I fell with gaming.  When I hit my early thirties, I began to have a negative view of adults who were really into video games.  I couldn’t shake the image of the “loser guy” sitting on a couch in his mother’s basement, with a controller glued to his hand while living on a steady diet of grape soda and Hot Pockets.

Now that I’m older, my view on gaming has actually “matured”, if you will.

What changed my mind?  Well, data, of course!

Here are some things we are finding out about gaming.

  1. There is a huge population of gamers over the age of 50. According to a 2015 study by the Entertainment Software Association, of the 115 million U.S. gamers, 27% are over age 50.  What this tells me is that you have a lot of responsible adults who just happen to enjoy gaming, thus destroying a stereotype I had been holding onto for too long.
  2. Gaming can be a social activity.  Games don’t have to be played in isolation.  You can use them to connect with friends and family.  For example, both my wife and I play social games (for example, Words With Friends and Matching With Friends) with other family members and friends.  Also, it can be a great bonding time for a family at home. Imagine playing an adventure game with your kids that allows you to spend time together and fosters an opportunity to open a door to better communication.
  3. Gaming can help with mental acuity. It is believed that video games can actually help you better focus and improve higher cognitive functions. In this case, they are referring more to action/adventure games.  So, believe it or not, that 40-plus person at work who plays Call of Duty, might actually be doing something that is going to better her/his job performance.

Granted, there is always the concern about overindulgence or addiction when it comes to gaming (or just about anything else for that matter) but, don’t let your love of an activity be determined by your age.  You might actually find that some of those things you previously labeled “a waste of time” are actually beneficial to you in terms of your health, social life and/or emotional well-being.

Written by JP Smith

A self-proclaimed "technologist...with attitude", I'm a forty-something husband, father and IT professional/enthusiast. I believe that learning and growth are lifelong endeavors.