A New Age of Video Games

Games have traditionally been for children. We grow up playing games of tag and jump rope, but there comes a time when we have to leave those "childish" things behind. It is at that moment we begin investing ourselves in new "more adult" activities. That just never happened with video games; they defy their own name.

This week, I found a blurb on video games in a recent issue of the AARP Magazine. That's not especially odd in and of itself; there have been plenty of articles in this magazine relating to video games before. The article is small and you probably wouldn't even be inclined to call it an article but its contents say something about the changing demographics. I've included this article to the left below. What does it say when a magazine for retired peoples starts writing articles about bettering your game?

You see video games have evolved with those young children of yesteryear. They've grown to accommodate thier changing tastes. The boys and girls who used to play these games have become the men and women who now make them. Mature themes have exploded onto the scene as the average age of the video gamer rises. Currently studies put the average age of video game players at 35. Its also noted that of Americans aged 50 and up, 26% play video games in 2008. That's a 9% increase since 1999. Video games are mainstream, and more so everyday.

The release of the Wii in 2006 seems to have expedited this. Nintendo, makers of the Wii, sought to remedy the barrier to new gamer players by making the controller more accessible. The result is a controller that can be used to mimic real-life actions, such as swinging a tennis racket or golf club. It also has pointer functionality, traditional buttons and can be attached to supplemental controllers for playing more traditional games. The Wii has currently sold more than 50 million units worldwide.
What's more amazing is the impact this device has had on the senior community at large. Retirement homes are now supplying their patients with Wiis so that they may partake in activities such as bowling from the comfort of their commons area and without the weight of the bowling ball impeding on their ability to play. Trivia games and programs designed to exercise and stimulate the brain are also available and can have a positive impact on seniors lives.

Wii Fit and its included balance board encourages "players" to exercise on a regular basis by providing them with a variety of interactive activies and allows them to track the progress they make. A follow-up to the 20+ million selling Wii Fit has just been released and is expected to take the idea even further.

You can still find classic games and genres on the Wii making an incredibly well-rounded system. Nintendo's Virtual Console is a back-catalog of games from the past 30 years, while new entries in the Super Mario series are also exclusively available to Nintendo's platform.

Will there ever be a day when everyone plays video games? That's incredibly likely. Video games are still a relatively new form of entertainment and will likely become a hallmark like movies before them. Some video games even have narratives that trump many films. However, if video games have one advantage, its their versatility. They embrace new technology to improve more than their looks but their interactivity, making their future bright and almost limit-less.

Thank you GoNintendo for linking to this article!
Statistics taken from GRABstats.com.

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